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Familiar bricks used in Durbin Library sign

The BASE FOR the new sign at the Durbin Library/Community Center is being built  with bricks from the old Durbin Graded School. Volunteers Jason Bauserman and Larry Hiner are the designers and constructors of the project. S. Stewart photo
The BASE FOR the new sign at the Durbin Library/Community Center is being built with bricks from the old Durbin Graded School. Volunteers Jason Bauserman and Larry Hiner are the designers and constructors of the project. S. Stewart photo

It’s a sad day when a building full of memories is torn down, but every once in a while the materials of those buildings are recycled to keep those memories alive.

Just like parts of the old Cass School were used in the Cass train cars, bricks from the Durbin Graded School have become a planter and sign at the Durbin Library and Community Center.

Volunteers Jason Bauserman and Larry Hiner have taken on the task of repurposing the bricks.

“I think it’s kind of neat,” Bauserman said. “It’s using bricks from the old school which are nearly one hundred years old. [The school] was built in 1921, so the bricks had to of been made a year or two before. I don’t know where they came from. There was a variety. There were some larger orange bricks that Larry complained about because they soaked up the moisture and they were big, and they were softer. Then there were some real hard red bricks.”

After the school was demolished in the early 2000s, Bauserman and Pocahontas County Free Libraries board member Sue Anne Heatherly collected viable bricks and stored them until they could be used. Bauserman said they collected an estimated 6,000 bricks for the project.

Originally, the plan was to line the bottom half of the library building with the bricks, but the way the building was constructed has led to plan B.

“I guess nobody told them to give us a four-inch lip to lay bricks on,” Bauserman said. “So then we thought to use them in the entryway. We were narrowed to that and we talked about that. Then we settled for the sign.”

Along with the bricks, the sign will honor two industries that led to the creation of Durbin – lumber and transportation.

“We’re going to have a railroad tie connecting those two columns then that will give us something to hang our sign down,” Bauserman said. “It’s just kind of neat how this has come together with the old Durbin School – that’s a piece of history – and the railroad that just really built this town. This wouldn’t have been here if it wasn’t for the two railroads meeting right here. So that was pretty historic and then the sign itself – we want to use wood because that’s been a big part of our employment here in the county with the trees that we are blessed with.”

Because the project has been scaled down, there are a lot of bricks left over – approximately 5,000 of them. Bauserman said he isn’t sure what will be done with the bricks, but he hopes they can be utilized.

“To me, I really like the recycling angle of it, too,” he said. “I’ve been a builder for forty-five years and I’m just amazed at what people are throwing in the landfill. A lot of the schoolhouses were the center of the community, so I hope we can use these leftover bricks in some way.”

The Durbin Graded School opened in 1921 when the Durbin and Frank schools were consolidated. The building was located on the hill at the entrance to Durbin. The school closed in 1977 when it consolidated with Green Bank School.

Suzanne Stewart may be contacted at sastewart@pocahontastimes.com

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