Plaques Needed For Merced's Historic Buildings

Times Publisher
August 31, 2017

While Merced has no statues of General Robert E. Lee, it has many historic buildings and homes.
Unfortunately, to the out-of-towner, these historic buildings and what made them historic is all but lost.
There is barely any evidence of why these buildings remain standing after so many years.
History is very important, as the Merced County Historical Society reminds us on a regular basis. The latest exhibit at the Courthouse Museum is the Ag Centennial of Merced County dating back to 1917.
Many communities in the country have chosen to place brass or bronze plaques on the fronts of their historic buildings giving a brief history on the background of the building, the age and why it is unique.
Merced is yet to follow the example, however, it is never too late. The buildings are still here. Many have newer facades, but are still in the same location where they stood a century ago.
Homes like the Greenbrier at 21st and K, and the mansion at the Bear Creek Inn, have been saved from the bulldozer and are still in good condition. They deserve a plaque telling their importance in Merced’s history.
Old timers may know some of that history, but we are not going to stand on the street corner and yell like a town crier at passengers in cars as they drive by.
The plaques would cost a fair amount of money as they need to be in a large enough size so the information on them is readable from the sidewalk. They should also be of about the same size so they are consistent all over town.
Perhaps the city or one of its sub-committees could offer to cover part of the cost and negotiate with a local engraver to get a set price for such plaques. For some of the downtown buildings the Mainstreet Association might help out.
Writing up the information to place on the plaque might be assisted by the Historical Society, or even the County Times.
We see this as a joint citywide project that even clubs and organizations might be interested in supporting. The Sunrise Rotary raised several thousands of dollars to recently rename M Street as Veterans Blvd.
Let’s use this column as a talking point and see if it gains any traction. Bring the subject up at meetings and see if anyone agrees.
It’s time to take a little more pride in our town’s heritage.

Call (209) 383-0433
or (209) 358-5311

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