When Arch and Della Baumgartner lived across the street from Herb and Edith Baumgartner at the northern portion of the James Street and Catherine Street intersection in Milford, both homes were adorned with beautiful brick sidewalks and walkways surrounding and up to the homes.
Years later when Greg and Julie Baumgartner, a distant relative, purchased Herb and Edith’s home, they began remodeling. As part of their renovations Greg and Julie took up the sidewalk bricks and set them in a pile. Ron Baumgartner, Arch and Della’s son, would pass this pile of bricks on his way to work and while visiting his mother. Finally Ron stopped and asked Greg what the plans were for the sidewalk bricks.
Since Greg and Julie were searching for a way to get rid of them but did not want to see such beautiful bricks go to waste, Ron offered to take them as a piece of both his family’s personal history and the town of Milford’s history. He ended up with thousands of the heavy, antique Milford sidewalk bricks.
Years passed and the bricks sat in gaylords, large corrugated boxes, while Ron awaited the perfect project. A few hundred bricks were used for small projects here and there but the majority remained. When the Wawasee Area Conservancy Foundation began talks of building a better path from the office to the pavilion, Ron found his project.
Since Ron is on the board of directors for the WACF, he heard of these plans and offered to donate his bricks to make up the pathway. Previously the path had been made from bark mulch, which was slippery and difficult to walk on in any shoes besides tennis shoes.
In the spring of 2017 Total Property Care installed the brick walkway so that it leads all the way from the WACF main office across the road to the Ruddell Pavilion. Leftover bricks await a new project to be used on at the WACF property. “We didn’t realize how bad it was until we got this wonderful walkway,” Heather Harwood, WACF executive director, exclaims.