North St. Louis Old North

Another Brick Story

by Michael R. Allen

Some neighbors excavated paving bricks from brick sidewalks in Old North in the construction zone — 41 new homes are being built and nine buildings are being rehabbed as part of the North Market Place project — that are being paved with concrete. They stored them alongside of our house. Then they dug more and stored those alongside of our house.

Now that we are anticipating building scaffolding along the length of our house, the bricks need to be moved. I have been moving them by hand to a new stack in the middle of the yard. First, I moved them in two’s — one in each hand. Then, I moved them in fours, arranged in alternating directions so they stayed a manageable square unit. I graduated to groups of six before triumphing at carrying stacks of eight this past weekend. I have completely moved the newest accumulation and have gotten about 20% of the first pile gone.

There are easily 500 bricks between the two piles. They appear to date to the 1870s or 1880s. Our neighbors may use some of them, but as part of storing them we are using them to build beds and fill in missing areas in our paved area (we have extensive original brick paving around our house).

There are thousands more of the bricks in the neighborhood, under grass and weeds or being uncovered as the new homes are built. I hope that neighbors continue to save them, because we are glad to store them in our yard (actually four fenced city lots) and have plenty of room. What we lack is the time to dig pavers ourselves.