09:30 AM

Library Receives Foundational Gifts for Special Collections Expansion

A co-founder of Stone Brewing as well as one of the most prominent families in North County have given foundational gifts to a Cal State San Marcos project to expand the space for its collections documenting the history of the region and make them accessible to the public.

Greg Koch, co-founder of Stone, and the Ecke family famous for its legacy of floriculture in the region are the lead funders for a plan to build a new public services area on the fifth floor of Kellogg Library. The donations kick off the fundraising for a project that is projected to cost $2.5 million and be completed in two phases.

“In a short time, we’ve made great strides to preserve the history of our region, especially that of North San Diego County, and this space will allow our communities to converge around a common purpose: to keep community stories alive,” said Jennifer Fabbi, dean of the CSUSM library.

The Special Collections Department at CSUSM, housing collections that are irreplaceable or rare, has existed for about five years, and it occupies a space on the first floor of the library (the second floor is street level). The space features only one viewing table for people to interact with the material, and with the collections confined to a storage environment, there is limited opportunity to display memorabilia and engage the public and campus community with the rich history within each collection.

The vision of the 8,200-square-foot renovation project, designed by San Diego architecture firm LPA, is to broaden the footprint of Special Collections and create a permanent and accessible center on the library’s fifth floor.

The new space will open with a grand entrance from the fifth-floor elevator. Off the main entrance will be the exhibit gallery, where physical and digital collection elements will be on display. The gallery will flank a central event space that can be set up for seminars, presentations, or community gatherings and celebrations.

Opposite the gallery will be a reading room, a secured location for hands-on interaction with the collections and a place for research engagement for students and scholars.

Since its inception, Special Collections has grown to include such major archives as:

Launched in 2017 in a county that’s widely regarded as the capital of craft beer, the Brewchive® is one of only a handful of special collections nationwide focused solely on beer. It includes photos, videos, marketing materials, coasters, beer lists, menus, recipes, brewing logs, brewing manifestos, unique or rare trade periodicals, and interviews. Many of them come from the personal collection of Koch, who founded Stone with Steve Wagner in San Marcos in 1996.

“It’s well known that the history of San Diego craft brewing is recognized nationally and internationally – you can find ‘San Diego-style’ IPAs being brewed across the country and around the world.” Koch said. “However, I love that it's being appreciated and housed at CSUSM, near where Stone and so many great craft breweries started. This project is going to bring the Brewchive® out of the basement and invite the community in to interact with it, maybe even try a couple of vintage recipes.”

The Ecke collection numbers hundreds of boxes of business records, flower catalogs, photographs, correspondence, maps and other documents. They were donated 10 years ago by three Ecke siblings in the fourth generation of a family that immigrated to Southern California from Germany in the early 1900s and built a horticultural empire by popularizing the poinsettia and other flowers.

“We appreciate that CSUSM recognized the importance of preserving North County’s history and is making it a priority,” Paul Ecke III, Lizbeth Ecke and Sara Ecke May said. “Our family’s legacy is part of that, and we like that students will have access to it and faculty members can use special collections in their classes. The exhibits area in this new space – where history will be on display – is exciting to us.”

To learn more about this project, contact P. Vien Walker in University Advancement at 760-750-8138 or vwalker@csusm.edu.