Vets Hall committee gathering memories | January 11, 2008 | Danville Express | |

Danville Express

Newsfront - January 11, 2008

Vets Hall committee gathering memories

Past will be featured in the future at the Veterans Memorial Building

by Jordan M. Doronila

Veterans are gathering photos and memories to preserve the history of the Veterans Memorial Building in Danville.

"We are asking members of the community to come forth with written or verbal knowledge of the use of the building," said John Estes, member of the Veterans Memorial Building Committee. "We want to preserve its historical structure and oral history."

The committee already has a binder that contains photographs of the veterans' hall, some very detailed, taken especially for the preservation efforts.

"We are looking to preserve this building as much as we can," Estes added.

The Historical Preservation and Artifacts Committee - an arm of the Veterans Memorial Building Committee - is also asking people in the area to share old war photos, documents or memorabilia. The artifacts will be used to embellish the newly rebuilt or renovated Veterans Memorial Building on Hartz Avenue.

"We want to have the history going forward," said committee member Karen Stepper, also a Danville Town Councilwoman. "This is a chance to get all that history together."

War veterans and public officials are planning on either rebuilding or remodeling the old Veterans Memorial Building downtown. They are collecting artifacts for the architect who will integrate the memorabilia in the new design.

"We want public participation," said Chuck Brydon, committee chairman. "It's not too soon (for veterans) to start writing up their remembrances."

"We want to save all we can," he added.

The building, which is currently used by veterans and the town's senior services, has had many functions since it was built in 1925. It has been employed as a voting center, a dance hall, the library and even as a courthouse.

"All kinds of things happened here," Brydon said. "There are many people who have met their wives here."

Now, veterans hope to create a lasting building with artifacts telling the story of the vets hall and those who fought for their country. The committee is working with the Museum of the San Ramon Valley on the project, Brydon said.

"Our character is defined by our past and how we came to be there," he said.

To contribute, call Brydon at 872-1339.