Heart bombing baby bucks: students spread the historic love

A message left by one of the heart bombers. (Photo by Grace Samuelson)

Older College of Charleston alumnae do not know 168 Calhoun St. to be the Starbucks, affectionately coined “baby bucks”, that current students have come to know. Those alumnae would know the building as the Goodie House, a once 24 hour, comfort food diner and student hot spot. In 1998 the building made the switch to the Starbucks that current students and more recent alumnae flocked to before class until its closing last fall. 168 Calhoun St. has played a role on the College’s campus since 1946, and now, 71 years later, the building finds itself empty and looking for love.

Heart bombing is a concept the National Trust for Historic Preservation created for old buildings in need of a little help. People looking to provide that help shower old historic places with craft-cut love. The only tools needed to heart bomb are tape, construction paper and notes of admiration for the historic site. Heart bombing has become a worldwide phenomenon for historic preservationists looking to call attention to seemingly forgotten buildings in a peaceful way.

Brittany Lavelle Tulla takes her role as a historical preservation professor here at the College very seriously. Not only is she loved and highly acclaimed by students, but she also chooses to take action in the local community. About two years ago, Professor Lavelle Tulla organized a group to heart bomb Mother Emanuel Church after the shooting. In the process, strangers from all over the world began adding their own hearts. They are now preserved as a memory from the event.

168 Calhoun St. remains covered in messages from the heart bombers. (Photo Courtesy of Professor Lavelle Tulla)

After the success of the first heart bombing, Professor Lavelle Tulla took the opportunity on Feb. 12 to show 168 Calhoun St. some of that historic love. A group of students with a passion for historic preservation plastered multi-colored hearts all over the building Sunday morning, with phrases such as “love me, I’m old” and “love me a latte” to show support for the recently emptied building. Students were encouraged to take pictures and use the hashtag #heartbombbabybucks to capture the public’s attention.

Although social media is always a helpful tool for getting people’s attention, it was hardly needed to make people notice the heart bombing this week. Every student who passed the little white building noticed the decorations Professor Lavelle Tulla and her helpers had left there.

The goal of heart bombing is to get people to remember older buildings that need their help and love. Valentine’s Day provided the perfect excuse to show that love to a well-known campus landmark. Back when it was the Goodie House, students would crowd the diner at any hour of the day to get a taste of the food. Once the building became Starbucks, it still found itself as a popular meeting place.

168 Calhoun St. has always brought people together, but it currently finds itself without a purpose. With a little help from some colored paper and tape, Sunday’s heart bombing helped the public take notice in hopes that the building will take on a new role in Charleston.

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