Gerard Koskovich, founding member of the GLBT Historical Society, was on hand last Friday to snap some photos of the bronze plaques commemorating Harvey Milk's legacy being replaced in front of his old camera store (now a Human Rights Campaign shop and "action center") at 575 Castro Street.
The plaques, one depicting Harvey Milk's profile with a quote that reads, "Burst down those closet doors once and for all and stand up and start to fight" and the other that includes a short bio and his famous quote, "You gotta give'em hope!", were removed in April to make way for construction on the new sidewalks along Castro Street as part of the Castro Streetscape Improvement Project.
When the plaques were removed, Public Works crews inspected the soil that was under the larger plaque as stories circulating in the local queer community suggested that some of Harvey Milk's ashes or a piece of his ponytail or some other sort of memento had been placed on the ground before the plaque was installed —- though there was no sign of anything but soil and concrete rubble, photog Dan Nicoletta confirmed that a small sprinkling of ashes from Harvey Milk had been dispersed in the concrete surrounding the smaller plaque. Public Works crews preserved the concrete around the smaller plaque in case Milk's ashes fused with the concrete.
According to Koskovich, workers initially tested locating the plaques close to the curb, but based on advice from stakeholders who turned out for the event, the contractor agreed to move the plaques closer to the building. The concern was that there wouldn't have been enough space for visitors to safely stop on the sidewalk, read the plaques, and take photos.
Take a look at the photos: