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Get your own piece of history

Get the latest on the effort to restore the John Marsh Stone House, and get a chance to take home a bit of history.

Brick crop1As work continues on the stabilization of the historic John Marsh stone house, the John Marsh Historic Trust is continuing its effort to spread the word about Marsh, his house, and the 3,700-acre Marsh Creek State Park that surrounds it. The Trust will staff information booths at three upcoming community events. Drop by and sign up for our newsletter, and your name will be entered in a drawing for an authentic piece of brick from the house itself.

The bricks used in the construction of the house were hand-made and fired on Marsh’s Rancho Los Meganos in about 1854. Used mostly for the house’s interior walls, many of the bricks failed over the years, and were removed during renovation work. Large pieces of the brick, like the one seen here, have been salvaged, labeled and numbered, and are being sold as part of the fundraising effort.

The pieces of history usually go for $40 each, but the Trust will be giving several of them away this month. Just stop by our booth at one of the events below and sign up for our free newsletter, and you’ll be entered in the drawings.

This months events are:

The July 4 Oakley Cityhood Celebration. This free event will feature food, music, and games, and will be topped off by a spectacular fireworks display. The event will be held on the Freedom High School soccer fields, at the corner of O’Hara Avenue and Neroly Road. The fun starts at 6 p.m.

The Brentwood Harvest Time Festival. This celebration of food, fun and family will be held July 11 and 12 in Brentwood’s City Park and Community Center. It includes music, a beer and wine garden, fine arts and crafts, cooking demonstrations and activities and contests for the kids. Hours are 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. both days, and admission is free.

Trilogy at the Vineyards New Model Gallery Grand Opening. On July 18, more than 80 of Brentwood’s finest local businesses, restaurants, and artists will offer live music, wine and food tasting, prizes, giveaways and raffles. There will even be an air show provided by the Patriot Jet Team, as well as a look at five new Shea3D model homes. The free event runs from 1 to 5 p.m at 1700 Trilogy Parkway in Brentwood.

Grant success keeps Trust on a roll

SH Cowell Foundationwebheader_logoDAR logo

CSPFThe Trust got word this week that it has been awarded a pair of grants to help fund its Annual Heritage Day event and support operations.

On Wednesday, the S. H. Cowell Foundation announced that it had approved a $10,000 matching grant for operations. The Trust has begun a fundraising drive to raise the $10,000 needed to match Cowell’s gift.

The news comes on the heels of a Brentwood City Council vote Tuesday to provide a $3,000 Economic Development grant to help pay for the Stone House Heritage Day at Marsh Creek State Park, co-presented by the Trust and California State Parks on Oct. 17.

“This is great news, real momentum-builders,” said Trust Vice President Kathy Leighton. “Our stabilization project is moving along, and we’re getting the backing of some important organizations to keep going. We’re hoping others will jump on board and help keep things rolling.”

Work continues on the $750,000 project to stabilize the fragile sandstone walls of Marsh’s 159-year-old house near Brentwood. The house is part of the Marsh Creek State Park, a 3,700-acre historic park that has yet to open to the public.

“The only way we’ll be able to get that park open is if we get the support of the public,” Leighton said. “We have to let them know about the possibilities, not only in the historic structure, but the trails, campgrounds and cultural history that will be out there to enjoy. Once enough people are behind it, we’re confident we can help bring it on line.”

The new grants add to other recent funding successes the Trust has enjoyed. In April the Mt. Diablo Chapter of The Daughters of the American Revolution (DAR) funded the creation of interpretive panels for Heritage Day at Marsh Creek State Park on Oct. 17, and other public presentations and events.

In February, California State Parks Foundation provided a grant to help manage and communicate with volunteers, partners and donors.

“Everyone knows it’s better to keep momentum than to start from scratch, and that’s what we’re about now,” said Executive Director Rick Lemyre. “We’ll keep looking for grants, and hope people will continue to donate so we can match them and keep rolling.”

Donations can be made through the PayPal link at the top of this page. The Trust is a 501(c)3 non-profit, so donations are tax-deductible. You do not have to have a PayPal account to donate.

The DAR supports projects in local communities which promote historic preservation, education and patriotism. Interested groups must be sponsored by a local DAR chapter. Contact the Mt. Diablo Chapter, National Society Daughters of the American in Danville, CA, at  www.dar-mtdiablochapter.org. For more about the DAR grant program, click www.dar.org/grants.