pa ·ti ·na noun pÉ’-ËˆtÄ“-nÉ’ – a surface appearance of something grown beautiful especially with age or use
Fresh and new have their place in a great downtown and often the fresh and new draw great praise because they represent investment and growth. We should not overlook the weathered and old, however, because the old and weathered aspects of communities add depth of character and beauty; the patina that makes us nostalgic for places we’ve visited.
In a recent winter trip to New Castle, Delaware, it was patina that stood out among the many unique characteristics of this small river town best known as the first American soil to touch William Penn’s loafers in 1682. The materials that make up the streets, sidewalks, curbs, walls, and alleys can aptly be described as weathered. Literally, streets are made of river stones subjected to centuries of pedestrian, carriage, and vehicular traffic still persist, yet they shimmer and shine with color and texture that is unlike any typical street. The bricks provide a rich contrast to the river stone and become the other predominant paving material in the downtown juxtaposing the more modern asphalt surfaces.
You get the sense that the stones and bricks beneath your feet have experienced a rich history in this community and that history impacts the way you experience your visit, dinner, walk, coffee, or even your drive through town. The patina has a positive impact on the sense of place and although the materials are certainly old and in many cases weathered, they have grown beautiful with that age and continue to add value to the community.