Antrim’s James A. Tuttle Library trustees and the town’s historical society are selling commemorative bricks as part of their project to build a gazebo to honor Don Dunlap, who died in 2019.
“I knew him well, he was a very generous person,” said Rick Wood, chairman of the library trustees. “He really helped out with the library and the historical society.”
This included donations to both when he died. According to Wood, the funds did not come with any specific conditions on how to spend them, and so both committees have put careful consideration into how they should use the money.
“We struggled, both committees, on how best to honor him,” Wood said.
Then one day, Wood said he drove by Bennington’s gazebo, recently built by the town’s historical society.
“I wouldn’t claim to come up with original ideas. I like stealing ideas, especially when they’re good ones,” Wood said.
The idea of a gazebo appealed to the committees, Wood said, because of Dunlap’s woodworking skill. He was a cabinet-maker, famous for making cabinets without the use of any nails or screws, according to Wood. Some of his cabinets are displayed in historical societies in Concord and Manchester, and one is displayed at the Antrim Historical Society.
“We thought this gazebo was a good way to honor Don’s skills, and his contribution to both groups,” Wood said.
Now the process of putting up the gazebo is underway. It will not be constructed, Wood said, but rather “assembled,” as it was ordered from a company in Pennsylvania that delivers the parts of the gazebo in a pre-drilled and pre-cut kit. Assembly takes less than a day, according to Wood.
The bricks being sold will be used to create a walkway from the library to the gazebo, and potentially to surround the gazebo, depending on how many are sold.
“We weren’t really going to use this as a fundraiser; we don’t need funds,” Wood said. The cost of the project will be covered by Dunlap’s donations as well as other funds that both committees have at their disposal. Money raised by the bricks will be used to cover potential extra costs, or for future library and historical society programming.
Wood said the hope is to allow for as many people as possible to become involved with the project by buying the personalized bricks. Under normal circumstances, the smallest brick size is typically sold for $100. For this, it will be $30. A larger size, usually sold for $200, will be available for $70.
“We want as many people to put their thumbprint on the brick as possible,” Wood said.
The current deadline to order bricks is June 1. Currently, the only way to order is to pick up an order form pamphlet from the library, Town Hall, Edmunds Hardware or another local location and pay by check, but Wood said the hope is to set up online ordering and the ability to pay with credit card by April.
The gazebo itself will be delivered in early May, and it will be assembled soon after site work is complete.
Wood said that the committees are working with a local contractor, who happens to be Dunlap’s nephew, John Dunlap. A local electrician will also be hooking the gazebo up to allow for lighting, and a local bricklayer will be putting down the bricks once that portion of the project is ready.
“It really is something that we want to do as far as a community event, that thumbprint on your town,” he said. “It would be cool if my grandkids can come back and say, ‘Grandpa had something to do with that.’”
The gazebo will be available for library programs, as well as use by the Avenue A Teen Center and to hold a Christmas tree when the holiday season comes. Wood said that it could maybe even be a wedding venue.
“We don’t know what the future really looks like, or how we’re real ly gonna use it,” Wood said.
Those who want to pur chase a brick can stop by the library or reach out to Wood at [email protected] with questions.