The reddish brick that covers the patio near the entrance to Canal Winchester's celebrated National Barber Museum and Hall of Fame has been filling with tributes.
"Some are engraved in memory of someone, and others show a family name," said Mike Ippoliti, the museum's director and curator. "Some are even putting the name of their barbershop on the brick."
To honor the barber profession and support the legacy of the late "godfather of barbering" and founder Ed Jeffers, the museum at 135 Franklin St. is selling commemorative engraved brick pavers to help support upgrading and maintaining its numerous displays of shaving mugs, razors, barber chairs and more.
"It's expensive to do some of the exhibits," Ippoliti said. "Since we're a nonprofit, we usually don't buy any of the artifacts. All that is usually donated. But it still costs money. For example, I've got a whole bunch of photographs that need framed. Frames are expensive."
The pavers come in two sizes: 4 inches by 8 inches with three engraved lines for $100 and an 8-by-8 one with five engraved lines for $150.
Ippoliti said the patio can accommodate as many as 900 bricks. More than 50 have been sold as of Sept. 6, he said.
"If we sell more, there's another area to the left of the entrance for a patio."
More than three years after a fire at its original downtown location above the Canal Wigwam restaurant, the museum reopened in May 2018.
The Canal Winchester Historical Society acquired the museum after Jeffers' death in 2006.
But after the fire, finding a new location large enough was a challenge, Ippoliti said. When the society considered moving to Groveport, the city began looking for space.
The school district offered to lease part of the former middle school, which sits behind district offices on Washington Street, for $1.
Jeffers opened the original museum in 1988.
Since reopening, more than 1,500 have toured the museum's collection of barber relics, which include barber chairs dating to the Civil War era and more than 70 red, white and blue barber poles, according to Ippoliti.
The museum also is home to the National Barber Hall of Fame, whose approximately 70 members include Oprah Winfrey's father, Vernon.
Six hall-of-fame members traveled from out of state for the reopening.
"Since then, we've had visitors from 33 states and 15 countries," Ippoliti said.
They included barber Adam Szulc, who arrived with his family from Poland to see the museum.
"When they landed in New York, they ran into a guy who owns a couple of salons," Ippoliti said. "Across the street, he has a room that he bills as a barber museum. Adam wanted to see the place, and the guy asked Adam if he was there to tour the United States. He said, 'No, we're going to Canal Winchester.' "
The two keep in touch via Facebook, and the museum now has a display featuring a book and magazine articles written by Szulc, who wants to return to Canal Winchester in November.
For more information about the museum, go to nationalbarbermuseum.org or call 614-837-8400.