Pieces of Greater Napanee’s history are being sold to benefit its future.
Bricks from the former Gibbard Furniture Factory are now available for a minimum $10 donation, with 100 per cent of the proceeds going towards IV fluid pumps for the Lennox and Addington County General Hospital.
The bricks, which are being torn down as part of the construction of the Gibbard District condo, commercial and piazza project, are steeped in history. Manufactured by Napanee Brick and Tile Works around 1869, a portion of them were embedded with a G.W. trademark-the initials of brick maker George Whittington. The clay for the bricks came from a six acre plot of land along the side the river in the township of North Fredericksburgh.
Drawing on inspiration from Lakeview Manor in Kingston which similarly sold bricks from its former building, the idea to sell bricks from Gibbard’s for charity was quickly born. Nate Doornekamp of Doornekamp Construction Ltd. then reached out to the hospital foundation to see where they could most use a donation. LACGH Foundation executive director Michelle Dickerson noted they were in desperate need of IV pumps. Used by all departments within the hospital, the pumps regulate the speed of drugs and fluids that are administered to patients. The price to replace the pumps is $300,000, which they hope they can raise through the brick fundraiser.
“It’s a nice way to pay homage to the McPherson family (former Gibbard Furniture Factory owners) and all the former employees of the Gibbard Furniture Factory,” said Lisa Ray Koenig of Doornekamp Construction Ltd. “There’s the whole history of the bricks as well. There’s the G.W., there’s blank ones, then there’s the Napanee bricks ones and then there’s a couple with a star that allegedly came from Deseronto. There’s a whole legacy.”
Bricks can be purchased at the Gibbard District sales office, located inside the former factory at 88 Dundas Street E.
“People are already donating more than $10, they’ve been so generous an we’re so appreciative,” said Koenig.
Donations of $10 or more are eligible for a tax receipt.
Gibbard Furniture Factory has stood on Dundas Street for over 180 years, with its last product made in 2008. In 2018 it was announced the former factory would be re-made into a condo and storefront.