Since the grocery store in Downieville has been in existence there have been benches on the front porch. Over the years many generations of Downievillians have occupied the benches and much of town lore and gossip is begun right there. Sometimes the rumors start and sometimes the rumors get straightened out.
The new owners of the grocery store moved the benches when they began their restoration of the store. They put to the side of the building and then when they saw the current occupants of the evening shift try to setup a makeshift system of benches they realized the importance of this town tradition and moved them back to the porch.
Over the years many different bottoms have sat there and eventually the wear and tear and weight began to have an effect. Gus Poggi, Jim Sinnott, Jim Astesana, the Costa men and several other old-timers have spent countless hours running the town from the bench. Last summer there were several splinters received in places that will remain unnamed. Two of the bench sitters, Jack Marshall and Gary Grutkowski decided something needed to be done and worked up a plan to repair and refinish the benches before the 2011 bench season.
Actually the winter of 2010-11 had been unusual in that some members managed to make an appearance on the bench in the evening in spite of the winter being especially cold, wet, snowy and long.
As Jack and Gary made their plans and purchased lumber, Steve Fillo the Downieville High School Shop teacher heard of the problem and thought this would make a great project for his students. Without hesitation Gaige Crawford, Justin Anderson, Tommy Dines, John Hubble and JoJo Epps took on the task under the supervision of Mr. Fillo.
Both benches were refurbished, rebuilt and refinished, not a splinter or wobble in sight and returned to the porch just in time for the summer season.