PERHAPS YOU hanker for a genuine English drawing room, a fancy theater staircase or an elegant old pub-but you live in a suburb where nothing was built before 1946. Don't despair. You don't have to move to older surroundings. Nor do you have to settle for some rickety chairs or a leaded-glass window for a salvage lot. You can now buy an antique interior-walls, ceiling, trimmings and all-and install it wherever you choose. For a price.
Nostalgia-by-the-roomful is now such big business that, according to The Wall Street Journal, one mammoth auction of "architectural antiques" in Connecticut this week could gross about $10 million. Many of the bidders, The Journal reports, will be restaurateurs eager to cash in on the bygones boom. And many of the oak-paneled rooms, old bars and such may wind up in western states and Japan, where home-grown memorabilia are scarce.
It's deeply moving to envision so many choice hunks of the past being carted around the country, from a posh estate here to a restaurant there, passing each other on the highways-and all ending up in discos in Los Angeles. But why limit the traffic to interiors? London Bridge has already been transported to Arizona. Surely other new areas are entitled to monuments, too. With a little enterprise, every town could become an architectural melting pot with a genuine Chicago-style skyscraper, a colonial town hall and a block of authentic 19th-century rowhouses (rechristened as "townhomes").
All this might addle future archaeologists, not to mention the stuffy folk who think history should be restricted to places where it happened. But it's in keeping with the go-getting spirit that made America what it is. In a nation that thrives on mobility, why should structures stay home? And once buildings have had been freed from their moorings, the next step is obvious. Anyone want to buy a small Civil War battlefield? How about a nice creek to put beside the pub?