UPDATE: The article has been updated to include Vickie Good’s mother’s name, and the amount of bricks she purchased.
SAN FRANCISCO (KRON) – After she was widowed at the age of 59, Vickie Good’s mother Lurana Hoetger would commute into San Francisco from Sausalito by ferry until she reached her 80s.
“She just loved the city,” Good told KRON4. So much so that when the Golden Gate Bridge turned 50 years old in 1987, she bought 16 bricks to be laid in a walkway of the bridge’s visitor gardens. The bricks cost between $32 and $75, though plaques in the walkway went for up to $1,000.
Good just learned the final fate of her mother’s brick — and the other 7,500.
“She loved her kids and grandkids and this was her legacy,” Good said. “She thought, ‘If I put bricks here, my kids and grandkids could come see me.'”
But although purchasers of the thousands of bricks laid in the walkway thought they’d be there in perpetuity — indeed, brick purchasers were given a certificate, Good said — the walkway was demolished in 2012 because it wasn’t compliant with the Americans with Disabilities Act. This was part of preparations for the bridge’s 75th anniversary, which was celebrated that year.
“It made me sad we couldn’t go see it anymore,” Good said.
The Golden Gate Bridge District stated at the time that it would try to preserve the bricks for a memorial wall. Good said that ten years later, she still hadn’t heard what had happened to the bricks.
“You have a certificate that says permanency, and we were floored when they removed them,” Good said. “The district claimed they were going to build a wall and have the names on the wall. I followed up a long, long time ago.”
After going to the bridge for her birthday (and not finding the promised wall), Good took to social media to ask what had happened.
Paolo Cosulich-Schwartz, the public affairs manager for the Golden Gate Bridge District, told KRON4 that the bricks crumbled as they were pulled out of the walkway — but said that a memorial wall was created at the Roadhouse Cafe across from the gift shop.
“The wall was installed inside the café to keep it protected from the harsh environment and intact for years to come,” Cosulich-Schwartz stated. “The memorial wall displays the full name and inscription on every single brick, as was promised back in 2012.”
Furthermore, people can request a digital image of their original brick by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org, or they can find it online.
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When told about the memorial wall, Good said she’ll have to go see it “before I pass final judgement.”
“To be fair, I should see it in person first, but my first reaction is that it lacks creativity and is disappointing because of its indoor location,” Good said. “Viewing the bricks in all sorts of weather — including those foggy days that my mother loved — was part of the total experience.”