German Village Gazette

Village Notebook

Tea43206 funds will help with signs and markers

On the heels of celebrating Fred & Howard's legacy this week, it seems entirely appropriate to be writing a post explaining the awarding of a comprehensive sign program for German Village with TEA43206 funds.

Fred & Howard never attended TEA43206, but they had everything to do with why it exists, why it has been embraced by the community and why we believe that signs and markers are important.

Four years ago, my wife, Darci Congrove, attended a fancy hat party and fundraiser at a large, upscale Connecticut country estate with the theme "Tea for Two Hundred."

When she came home and told me about it, she finished her story by adding, as she often does, "I think I could do it better."

Once we decided that we were having the event, we signed up our small hotel (German Village Guest House) as the lead sponsor and started to consider our beneficiary -- a purpose for our party -- before we could proceed with the rest of the planning.

That we were raising funds for German Village was a given (Thus Tea for Two Hundred became TEA43206), but for what in particular?

As with so many other Villagers, our desire is to make an ongoing contribution to creating a more vibrant, welcoming and unique place for others to discover.

And, as frequent travelers, it occurred to us that border monuments, house markers and historic plaques could facilitate experiencing our neighborhood for residents and visitors alike.

Perhaps my greatest interest is in bringing attention to the many small, fascinating stories that make up our Village for everyone to enjoy -- whether exploring the Village for the first time, or walking the dog down a different street (The Brothers House at 316 & 318 Beck St is my favorite).

As we were reminded this week Fred & Howard understood ALL of this long ago. They knew that a vibrant community requires more than restored buildings and brick streets and sidewalks.

For German Village to thrive its story had to be shared with as many people as possible -- and it also takes community pride and camaraderie and taking the time to celebrate and have fun.

We didn't ask ourselves at the start "What would Fred & Howard do?" we just did what we instinctively knew was the right thing for German Village, and it just happens that a community party with a purpose is perfectly following the example set by our beloved pioneers.

So, of the funds raised in the first three years of TEA43206, $50,000 has been awarded for the creation of a design strategy for directional, wayfinding, house- and border-marking and storytelling signage that fits the historic nature of our Village.

BHDP, with offices locally in the Arena District, was selected from more than a half-dozen interested firms with impressive track records in design and historic preservation.

TEA43206 is on Saturday August 16 this year -- get your hats ready and let's have some fun.

John Pribble, co-creator of Tea 43206, submitted the Village Notebook column.