The John Marsh Historic Trust Board of Directors rolled up their sleeves Tuesday to discuss future plans for the historic Stone House as construction is quickly approaching to permanently stabilize the fragile structure built in 1856.
Rick Lemyre, Executive Director, presented a framework to the Board in hopes of creating an overall plan and a “to do” list that that will help the restoration come to fruition, and get the building open to the public.
Lemyre exchanged ideas with the Board on how to increase funding while encouraging Board growth. He encouraged training to get the Board comfortable with asking for donations. He also stressed the need to broaden networking opportunities with potential donors while building relationships.
With the idea of 2014 being a breakout year, the Board’s goal is to develop relationships that will help not only help to open the house to the public, but open parts of the Marsh Creek State Park of which it is a part. Advisory boards within the Trust will specialize in fundraising, education, historical research, outreach and budgeting to supports the future vision.
The idea appeared to be well received and the board concurred they would like to see an increase in press relations, promotions, and a timeline of the organization’s history shared with the public so they too could gain a better understanding of its goals.
To gain more exposure, the Board will look into speaking engagements and partnering with other public and private community organizations to raise awareness of the Trust and Marsh, the first doctor in California and the first white settler in Contra Costa County
Lemyre also stressed the importance of continuing to develop agency relations with the State Department of Parks and Recreation, the East Bay Regional Park District, the City of Brentwood, Contra Costa County officials and members of the state Government.
Another component is working with educators to create curriculum compatible with new Common Core standards to help educate youth in public schools. Educational opportunities include not only John Marsh, but the Native Americans and Hispanics Marsh lived and worked with, and his contributions to cattle breeding, agriculture, linguistics, architecture and medicine. significant 7,000 year-old archeological resources discovered on the site just outside Brentwood will also be included, as well as the role of women in early California.
Lemyre stated that he would like to see the Trust become the top informational resource in these areas. Most importantly, they hope to showcase the Stone House through tours and educational outreach programs.
Board Member Ken Young explained that history is our guiding post to the past so we can learn and make better decisions in the future.
“Too much of history is taught through the pages of books,” said Young. “We can see history, touch it and actually walk through it.”
Trust President Gene Metz agreed, highlighting the history and architecture of the house.
“Many of us don’t know our own history,” said Metz. “Restore the house, open the park and invite all of California!”
The Board has big plans which begin with construction to stabilize the house. Construction should start soon and be completed by early summer of 2014. This has been possible due to grants from the California Cultural and Historical Endowment, California State Parks and the City of Brentwood.
Lemyre added that the upcoming construction project only covers the stabilizing of the building. The group is in need of more funding for the completion of the restoration. He stressed the importance of outreach and engaging the community to get involved in the process.
Lemyre will look into working on a campaign under the direction of the board to reach out to potential donors and community partners to find additional funding.
Metz suggested not limiting the search to East Contra Costa County, or even California. This should be a fundraising campaign that spreads across the Country, he said.
Lemyre Promoted to Full-Time Director
Back in September, it was announced the former Brentwood Press editor was hired as the new Executive Director for the John Marsh Historic Trust. Lemyre began the position working part-time. Just a few months into the job, he has officially been offered a full-time position funded by a grant from the Cowell Foundation as he moves the organization forward.
Lemyre has been a board member for at least half-a-dozen non-profit organizations. He has also been writing about businesses, government and other organizations for 14years.
“I’ve tried my hand at project management the last few years, and of late I’ve done a lot of research on how grantors view non-profits and what they expect of them,” says Lemyre. “That, plus a bit of logic and imagination, was enough to give us the starting points.”
Lemyre adds that he has been surprised at the extraordinary amount of behind-the-scenes work that’s gone on over the last 20 years, not only by the Trust, but by State Parks, the City of Brentwood, and a raft of others from archeologists to historians to land-use planners. He shares that there is even a detailed draft interpretive plan for the house once it’s finished, including what the rooms and grounds should be used for.
The work “will be invaluable as we move ahead in the coming months,” says Lemyre.
About John Marsh House
The John Marsh House represents a significant part of not only California’s history, but the history of our nation. Its very existence is elusive. The house and 3,600 acres of property surrounding it are part of a state park that is not yet open to the public. The house is listed on the National Registry of Historic Places. The property has been the home to archaeological findings that date back 7,000 years.
If you happen to stumble across it, it will take your breath away. There is no doubt upon first glance; you have stumbled upon something magnificent.
Anyone interested in contributing to this project can visit The John Marsh Historic Trust Website for more information: http://www.johnmarshhouse.com/.
By Amy Schrader
Email: [email protected]
Nice to see this getting some exposure and nice to see Rick doing positive things with his time. Hope they are successful in making this all work out for the community.
Rick Lemyre being covered better on here than in his former paper. Brentwood Press not doing its job. This project would be a huge asset to the area and the Press is failing our community once again.
One other thing, if I may: There’s lots of opportunity for others to get involved, too. Call me at 925-286-4591 if you’re interested.
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