QUINCY (CBS) – Thousands of engraved bricks lining the walkway next to Quincy City Hall are being removed. Relatives who thought the bricks would be there for generations to come are left puzzled and heartbroken.
Retired Quincy Fire Chief Paul O’Connell considers it sacred ground. “Some of these are like cemetery stones,” says O’Connell. The 3,000 bricks were engraved in memory of a person or a place.
O’Connell bought two bricks for $50 apiece back in 1992; One brick in memory of a deceased brother, the other honoring seven family members who served as Quincy firefighters.
“That’s four generations,” says O’Connell. “Seven members of the department.”
The 21-year-old bricks were part of what was then called the “Walk of Names,” but now, those bricks are being removed one by one, part of a huge downtown revitalization project. The former chief feels violated.
“When we put that brick down I thought it would be here for generations,” said O’Connell, “long after I was gone.”
As you might expect, this has become a very sensitive issue at Quincy City Hall, but the mayor says he is willing to work to find a solution.
He says the original bricks may be reinstalled and if they are not, they will be returned to those who bought them in the first place. The names on them will be inscribed somewhere in the new park.
“If they don’t play out that they’re used in the ground again, can they be used in a vertical setting or can we memorialize the names in another way,” said Mayor Thomas Koch.
He says the removed bricks are being carefully stored by public works. WBZ went and checked, and sure enough, they are all sealed and catalogued. Paul O’Connell just wants to make sure they don’t get lost in the shuffle
“This is about preservation, this is about history.”
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