Thanks to the many people who volunteered their time and support, the ‘Our History Our Heart’ event, for 50 Church Street, was a success. The result of the day’s activities can be seen as you drive down Main Street past the building. Hearts declaring community love and affection now line the North facing wall. Some of the statements read, “Save Our Heritage” “Know your history, love your school and community” “Not just a building, more like a feeling” and “Our memories matter, save this building.” A Plumas Unified favorite, written by an unknown author reads, “The future belongs to those who see possibilities before they become obvious.” As Kristy Warren, the Assistant Superintendent of PUSD stated, “...this quote captures the essence of what we are doing here today, trying to imagine the possibilities and really believe that they will happen.”
The event was ultimately about commemorating the past, dreaming of the future, and celebrating one another. The old 1905 schoolhouse on 50 Church Street is over 100 years old, which is cause enough to pause and appreciate its impact and place in this community. Along with creating hearts to decorate the building and declare support for its restoration, the day consisted of history, performances, and food. A notable addition to the day was having Ruth Dunn Reid, who is 97 years old, attend the event with her daughter Linda Reid Wallace. Ruth went to school in the building all of grade school and her mother, Mary Dunn, was a teacher and a principal at 50 Church for many years. Linda attended Kindergarten in the 1905 building before going to the new Quincy Elementary school, which opened in 1950. Additionally, Robert Schoensee, the previous PUSD Superintendent during the early 1960s, veteran, and longtime community member, was present at the event with his family.
During the day, community members recorded their memories of the building and their ideas for future possibilities in two separate notebooks. Some of the ideas included, using the building as a new museum, a community center, a seed library, an eco-farm, a learning center, a concert hall, and an event center with a ballroom and restaurant. Chris Murray shared, “Kindergarten for me was right next door. My teacher was Lois Brents, a wonderful teacher. This beautiful old 50 Church Street building has been with me all my life. I can’t imagine the town of Quincy without it!”
Many people in Plumas County have some sort of memory or connection to the building. Whether it was going to school or work there, walking a dog down the street, attending the farmer’s market, having a picnic on the lawn, or picking dandelions in the grass, 50 Church Street has collected generations of memories. As the report on “Why Old Places Matter” by Thomas Mayes states, buildings are “memories we can touch.” “Spaces where people, time, and place intertwine to form community.” The Our History Our Heart Event was evidence of this very thing. Using the space to connect, to commemorate, to remember, to dream. Thank you to everyone who came out on Sunday to show your support and share in our vision to Save 50 Church Street.
The event could not have been possible without the involvement of the many vendors, groups, and individuals that showed up to support 50 Church Street. Plumas Unified would like to extend a heartfelt thank you to all the groups and individuals who committed their time and energy to make the day great. Gratitude to Leslie Edlund and the PUSD Board. Many thanks to volunteers Linda Reid Wallace, Ruth Dunn Reid, Nancy Gambell, and Chris Murray. Thank you to Paul and Denise Russell and Scott Larson from the Plumas County Museum and community historian Calin Turcotte. Thank you to the amazing performers who volunteered, including: Fish Taco band members: Leslie Mink, Lance Barker, Kenny Davis, and Barney Harchis; QHS saxophone players Ben Heaney and Tristan McMichael, who also was the MC; Plumas Charter Strings Group ‘Practice Makes Perfect’ and PCS Music teacher Greg Willis; QES teacher and singer/songwriter Emily Read; and Kristina Hardin and her All-Star Gymnastics group. Thank you to Emily Bryant for her multifaceted creative and artistic talents and support. Appreciation to the many vendors that spent the afternoon providing food for the community to enjoy. This includes: Quincy Natural Foods, Debbie’s Dogs, Moons, and the QES Garden Club. Thank you to Plumas Charter Executive Director Taletha Washburn, PCS Garden Coordinator Leslie Pace, and PCS Garden Club students for providing garden supplies for sale and crafts at the event. Thank you to IVES and QES for letting us borrow supplies. Thank you to Mike Cadicamo for volunteering to capture the day in photographs. Appreciation to Rhiannon Hood, a CHS art student, who came all the way from Chester to paint a beautiful picture of the building. Thank you to Mountain Building for donating part of the plywood and Quincy Thrift for donating items for the event. Lastly, sincere gratitude to the anonymous donor, who donated all the funds to make the event happen.
For those who could not make it, but would still like to get involved, it’s not too late. You can still add a heart to the building, just mail it or drop it off to Nina Martynn at the District Office at 1446 East Main Street in Quincy, CA. This summer we are organizing “Summer Schoolhouse Movie Nights” on the 50 Church Street lawn. Donations will be accepted to support the building’s restoration. To stay connected and updated with more details and future events, Follow “The Friends of 50” Facebook page.
Unaffiliated with PUSD, Dr. Kevin Danaher, will be teaching a class at FRC this fall of 2017, on how to revitalize old buildings using 50 Church as a case study. For more information and how to sign up email Dr. Danaher at email@example.com.