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Hit The Bricks - Society Starts New Fundraising Drive
A Main Street monument dedicated during the summer of 2011 stands at the site of the first Escalon fire station and now a move is on to beautify the area around it. Installation of commemorative, engraved bricks is a new fundraising effort for the Escalon Historical Society, which helped coordinate the monument project.

Brick sizes are 4-by-8 and 8-by-8 with the cost set at $100 for an engraved 4-by-8 brick, $200 for an engraved 8-by-8 brick and a $500 cost for businesses or organizations for an engraved 8-by-8 brick with a company logo. There is also firefighter helmet clip art available for those who wish to use it, said Historical Society President Barbara Willis.

"The bricks are a way of beautifying the area," she said of planning to install the decorative pavers.

The society members have been in touch with some retired firefighters in the area, Willis added, seeing if they want to be among the first to purchase the bricks.

The effort is just getting under way, with 16 brick orders received so far. The society is working with Roger Peters Concrete of Escalon on the project.

The monument itself marks the site of the city's first firehouse, built in 1930, specifically to house the department's first fire engine, a 1916 Model 40 American LaFrance pumper.

Willis said individuals, families, businesses, service clubs, all are welcome to purchase a brick, with society representatives looking at visiting Kiwanis, Rotary, Lions and more to seek support.

"Some people are listing their high school graduation year," Willis said of message options, while others are just listing a family name or that of a person prominent in the history of the town.

Willis said the brick project doesn't have a target end date, though there are roughly 400 bricks in the area they are looking to replace with the pavers.

"People are weighing what their money should go for," Willis noted of the tough economy, anticipating brick sales could be slow. But the overall goal is to highlight local families, firefighters and the community.

Society members have taken a couple of 'field trips,' Willis said, to see similar brick paver projects, one in Ceres and one in San Jose, to get an idea how to arrange their site. Peters will handle the design work.

"He knows the ease and difficulties of this type of project, he will focus on the aesthetics for a pleasing end result," Willis noted.

Two other brick projects have been successful for the Historical Society in the past, with the Veterans' Wall listing names of service members outside the city's Community Center and one wall full of bricks inside the Main Street museum, with names of local residents, longtime families and supporters of the society.

More information is available by contacting the society at 838-8070.

The museum is open Wednesdays from 1 p.m. to 4 p.m. and Saturdays from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.

The first Wednesday of the month, today, Aug. 1, will be Reminisce Day at the museum and it is also open for tours. Historical Society meetings are the second Monday of the month at 7 p.m., with this month's meeting on Aug. 13.

Along with Willis as president, the board includes Vickie Mello, vice president; Dorothy Miller, secretary; Chuck Van Gorkum, treasurer; Gerri Andrade, historian.