For most of my life back East, this was the only thing that used to come to mind when I heard the word “boardwalk.” The hottest property on the Monopoly board. High rent district!
You could gain a little fame, if not fortune, by owning a piece of a different kind of boardwalk in Dubois: the one that acts as a sidewalk in the tiny downtown business district.
I love to look at the names on the boards to see which I can recognize. I don’t know when they were laid down, but the names on many of the boards have faded considerably under the pressure of countless feet over the years.
Quite a few of the boards disappeared recently, either torn or burned away as a result of the great New Year’s fire of 2014. What’s going to happen to those historic planks? I asked property manager Reg Phillips last January.
“We are planning on putting the boardwalks back,” he replied. “The names that are still legible will be noted and when the new boards go in, those names will be re-branded. Any boards that are not legible will be available for sale.”
Presumably, this will offer an attractive new opportunity for newbies like us who would like the privilege of literally putting our brand down in downtown Dubois.
Back when the boardwalk was first created downtown, you could have had your name inscribed on one of the boards for a mere $75 donation to Dubois Volunteers Inc. (which uses part of the funds for routine repairs). But that honor had long been sold out when we moved to town.
Instead, we got the family name on the bridge that crosses the river in the town park. For some reason having my last name there made me feel more like part of the town.
I wonder whether there will be competition for the available boards when the new building is complete, and how and whether DVI will manage that. It’s fun to speculate.
This past week, volunteers coordinated by the Dubois Museum Association have been busy fixing the a different damaged boardwalk–the one that connects the charming historic cabins across the parking lot from our equally charming museum. They will have completed the project just in time to assure the safety of the visitors at the start of the summer season, which begins this weekend.
The DMA and museum staff provided the sweat equity. Funds for the pressure-treated lumber and screws came from a Wyoming Community Foundation grant.
Here you see the old boardwalk being removed, on a beautiful spring day. The new boardwalk is nicer than the old one, Visitor Services Coordinator Johanna Thompson told me, because instead of zigging and zagging, it winds like a stream.
No names are inscribed on the new museum boardwalk, at least not yet. What would you like to see inscribed there? Might be fun to add dates of important events in local history.
© Lois Wingerson, 2016
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