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Fort Worth's Hidden Red Brick Streets


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#1 Urbndwlr

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Posted 20 November 2004 - 11:54 AM

Norman mentioned the red brick streets that lie under many of Fort Worth's paved streets. It would be spectacular to restore and repair these streets.

How much more (in % or absolute terms) does it cost for us to restore or build a new mile or block of brick street vs. asphault or concete (whichever is comparable in terms of durability)?

Where are these streets?

It would be an amazing enhancement to the city's character to have a network of old and new red brick streets throughout the city's older districts. (I don't mean every street - just the ones where brick is still underfoot).

Anyone know or have any pictures that might shed some light on this??

#2 mosteijn

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Posted 20 November 2004 - 12:34 PM

They're quite numerous on the near southside (north of Pennsylvania). In many cases, the asphalt has just eroded away and the streets look like a patchwork of asphalt and aged brick. I think it would add a lot to the urban/historic/gritty feel of the southside if they would just take the rest of the asphalt off. I'm sure FW South could launch an initiative to do such a thing.

#3 Sam Stone

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Posted 20 November 2004 - 12:55 PM

I could think of few more worthy infrastructure projects that exposing the hidden bricks beneath our streets. I can also think of few projects less likely to happen on a large scale. Fort Worth's conservative, upper middle class homeowners that turn out to vote in city council elections live mostly in neighborhoods that do not have hidden brick streets. I think as central city neighborhood associations and developers get more in touch with their roots (for lack of a better term) you might see small pockets of brick exposure finding their way into future CIPs.

Take Camp Bowie for example. CB is a signature part of FW. The bricks are integral to that. The businesses along CB are fairly well organized. But look how long it's taken just to get a segment of that repaired. And they had to set up a PID for that purpose.

#4 gdvanc

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Posted 20 November 2004 - 01:29 PM

In many cases, the asphalt has just eroded away and the streets look like a patchwork of asphalt and aged brick.

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Actually, that's not erosion. Those streets were designed by Schaumburg as prototypes for changes to the roads arount the Summit Ruins.

#5 gdvanc

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Posted 20 November 2004 - 01:48 PM

I could think of few more worthy infrastructure projects that exposing the hidden bricks beneath our streets.  I can also think of few projects less likely to happen on a large scale.  Fort Worth's conservative, upper middle class homeowners that turn out to vote in city council elections live mostly in neighborhoods that do not have hidden brick streets.  I think as central city neighborhood associations and developers get more in touch with their roots (for lack of a better term) you might see small pockets of brick exposure finding their way into future CIPs. 

Take Camp Bowie for example.  CB is a signature part of FW.  The bricks are integral to that.  The businesses along CB are fairly well organized.  But look how long it's taken just to get a segment of that repaired.  And they had to set up a PID for that purpose.

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Sam, I agree that it could be a challenge to restore the Fort Worth cobblestone to very many areas.

Still, it would be interesting to see comparisons of cost for restoration, for new implementations, and for ongoing maintenance.

Focusing on signature roadways (CB) or areas (Stockyards) makes sense. They could help visually demarcate those signature areas. 7th might have been a good choice for partial brick. If not, perhaps Lancaster between downtown and le Quartier Culturel.

I think they make good accents as crosswalks or in intersections.

Are they effective at slowing traffic? If so, that might also be a consideration.

#6 John T Roberts

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Posted 20 November 2004 - 02:46 PM

The brick is still there on 7th Street. When I was crossing it taking pictures of Montgomery Ward, I noticed some sections where the brick was exposed.

#7 normanfd

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Posted 21 November 2004 - 03:14 AM

I'm glad to see that others share my interest in restoring the bricks. In my opinion, paving over the bricked streets in the 60s and 70s was just as damaging to the city's appearance as the botched architectural "renovations" performed on many of the city's historic buildings during the same period.

Although the red bricks were ubiquitious in the city's core areas, they were generally found only on the major thoroughfares. Residential side streets for the most par and to my knowledge, were never bricked. As an example, on the near South Side, Magnolia, Pennsylvania, Summitt, Jennings Hemphill, and Main, among others, still were brick streets during the late 60s and early 70s.

Maintenance is a double-edged sword. Overall, brick is much more durable than asphalt, which is why all those streets remained brick for so many decades without being paved over. However, freezing water and high-load truck traffic do have the same affect in creating potholes which must be fixed brick by brick in local areas.

Cities typically repair streets in the most cost effective options: fill potholes untill the street looks like a quilt of differently mixed and aged asphalt, and then repave the street. Eventually, the city, usually through a major bond program, must strip off all those layers of asphalt lest the street end up being higher than its sidewalks and threaten to degrade more quickly from the compilation of the flaws in its previous underlying structures. When this happens is a good time for the city to reconsider the original brick. Another problem is that the Thurber brick plant that supplied much of the red brick for the city's streets and contemporary buildings has been closed for years. Historic Camp Bowie has managed to find workable alternatives.

I believe it would be good public policy for the city to consider restoring much of its red brick streets on a long-term basis. It would not, however, be economically feasible for the city to do this on a short-term goal citywide. Instead, the city should strongly support and encourage neighborhood groups who are willing to make brick restoration a reality through the development of their own finances and resources. Historic Camp Bowie has shown, to a small, yet significant degree, how this could happen. Granted, they were working with a boulevard whose red bricks had never been paved over, but they still managed to succed in restoring that portion of Camp Bowie into something the city can be proud of.

I also don't recommend restoring all of the city's old streets. Some streets have modern traffic patterns that would make such a prospect unreasonable. Camp Bowie is only paved in red brick presently as far west as the West Freeway. However, it remains underlain with red brick at least as far as Mineral Wells. In fact, the westound lanes of US 180 between Weatherford and Mineral Wells were red brick until they were finally paved over around 1980. The eastbound roadway creating the present divided highway did not yet exist at the time the bricks were laid. The bricks made for a very unique country drive, but they weren't practical under modern truck traffic in 1980, and they certainly wouldn't be practical with the reinstatement of the 70 mph speed limit.

I don't believe that Camp Bowie beyond the West Freeway intersection should be rebuilt with red brick. The original brick thoroughfare had two lanes travelling in each direction as opposed to the present three, and it didn't have anywhere near the traffic that the boulevard now experiences. I do, however, support the suggestions that the city should encourage that crosswalks and sidewalks be built in red brick, especially in areas where visitors are likely to go. This can only help to enhance this historical appeal that the brick streets could create and provide Fort Worth with a visual uniqueness that would set the city apart.

#8 Urbndwlr

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Posted 04 December 2004 - 02:45 AM

Restoring red brick streets is really a marketing move for Fort Worth.
We don't know what the added construction cost or the savings of periodic repaving of asphault would be, so we can't credibly debate this now.

Assuming there is a premium paid to restore the red brick streets, and that new bricks that are similar to the existing ones can be bought, think of the awesome feel that the city's central districts would have if even 20% were paved in brick.

It's elements of cities such as this that help define them in they eyes of visitors. It might sound absurd to some, but think of what cable cars and a twisty Lombard street do for San Francisco - they are two of the most recognizable images of that town - and not really monumental civic accomplishments. (I don't mean to compare apples to oranges - just that cities can really benefit from having distinct elements such as brick streets).

I would love to know what the costs would be and how much would be saved in short-term repair costs (brick vs. asphault).

#9 TexasPacific52

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Posted 07 December 2004 - 07:20 PM

I'm new to this forum so please excuse me if I screw up this reply.

I believe, but could be wrong, that the new bricks that you see on Camp Bowie near Hulen St are not actually bricks. I saw the street under construction a lot while eating almost every week at the Original Mexican Restaurant. There is a concrete roadbed that the fake bricks actually sit on. When the street or water department have to do maintenance then it's just a matter of lifting out the portion of bricks needed and starting your work. Quite simple really. This process also makes for a smoother ride since the roadbed is quite level due to the concrete roadbed. I believe the "bricks" are actually died and formed concrete similiar to lawn paving stones.

I personally like the accent work done with the bricks such as the large intersection at University/7th St.

Referance to recovering bricks from other locations. The city of Fort Worth does have a "Brick" department. I've seen them out harvesting bricks from the Broadway Street RR crossing just south of downtown sometime last year. The city trucks have some kind of logo like "Brick Department" or something similiar stenciled on the door.

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#10 John T Roberts

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Posted 07 December 2004 - 10:16 PM

Welcome to the forum, TexasPacific52

#11 mosteijn

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Posted 07 December 2004 - 10:45 PM

Sounds like I need to head over to Camp Bowie to test out those new bricks...

#12 John T Roberts

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Posted 07 December 2004 - 10:55 PM

East Rosedale in the Poly Area is brick with asphalt overlay. I was in the neighborhood today and noticed the brick street at some of the intersections.

#13 David Love

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Posted 09 December 2004 - 10:25 AM

Personally, I’d like the look and character of a bricked downtown. The only downside is that when wet they’re very slippery on a motorcycle…

#14 Willy1

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Posted 09 December 2004 - 04:51 PM

I love the look of the bricks on CB. But, as a life long resident of the West side... The bricks have also been a bit of a hardship for those who travel CB regularly. In fact, I wrote an article for FW Texas Magazine in 2002 that referred to Camp Bowie as "Camp Bumpy" because CB seems to have been in bad shape for more of my life than it has been in good shape. Driving down CB is sort of like driving through a war zone. The pot holes and loose bricks are even a hazard to cars and trucks. I would love to see more brick streets in key areas of FW, but only if they limit the vehicle weights on those roads. 18 Wheelers should NEVER be allowed on CB unless they're delivering materials to work sites on CB. I know that sounds crazy, but I had a brick thrown through my windshield when and 18 wheeler ran over it and kicked it up. It left a crater the size of a steering wheel in my windshield. So, moral of the story - be careful what you ask for. They're pretty, but the looks are only one side of the bricks.

Hey TexasPacific52... Welcome. Did/do you work for the T&P? My grandfather worked there for over 40 years and helped found the T&P Federal Credit Untion and my mother was the president of the T&P Federal Credit Union for almost 30 years.

#15 TexasPacific52

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Posted 10 December 2004 - 01:24 AM

Thanks for the welcome. I'm sorry to say that I did not work for the T&P. The logo is what I go by in my railroad groups. I'm an avid railroad fan and spend a lot of time downtown near the T&P station.

I've been watching this board for a long time and figured it was time to join in. Some of you "Heights" people wont like this but I'm also a Paschal Alumni.... Guess we have a lot of you outnumbered here....

On the RR side, I grew up next to the Frisco rail yard off of 8th Ave.....I spend most of my time running around the county taking photographs when I'm not working as a full time forensic investigator for Tarrant County....

I hope to join in on more discussion during the coming weeks...

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#16 normanfd

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Posted 10 December 2004 - 02:13 AM

Of course, those of us "Hills" people, especially those from the West, would know to refer to ourselves as an alumnus rather than as alumni being that we know the latter to be a plural term.

Needling aside, welcome to the forum.

#17 mosteijn

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Posted 10 December 2004 - 04:41 PM

I've been watching this board for a long time and figured it was time to join in. Some of you "Heights" people wont like this but I'm also a Paschal Alumni.... Guess we have a lot of you outnumbered here....


Hell, we even have currently enrolled Paschal students on this forum. :smwink:

Willy, did that event you described happen while you were driving??? That would have been incredibely scary!

#18 Willy1

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Posted 10 December 2004 - 05:34 PM

Johnny... yep, I was driving when the brick hit the windshield. I fixed my windshield that time, but I've stopped repairing/replacing the windshield in my SUV because with all the construction in DFW, I can't keep the 18 wheelers/trucks from chipping or cracking my windshield. I currently have 3 big cracks in my windshield. I gave up on replacing it after having 3 new windshields in one year. It's ridiculous. There should be some sort of claim that somone can file with the TX DOT when their vehicle is damaged by their mess and their construction crud. I HATE I-30, but unforntuately I have to use it. The "hot wheel track" they've build in west Dallas should be illegal because it's a death trap and I'm surprised no one has been killed in that area of 1-30 as a result of them putting up those dang concrete barriers 2 inches outside each lane. There is no room for error, and there is no room for 18 wheelers... AND, the whole thing curves like crazy. It really is like driving an obsticle course.

Are there any law prohibiting creating such dangerous road conditions as part of a construction site? It's insane. They'd be better off just closing I-30 and fast-tracking the project to get it completed in a fraction of the time.

#19 normanfd

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Posted 11 December 2004 - 01:31 AM

I remember the last time the highway, SH 118, between Alpine and Fort Davis was repaved. I was a backseat passenger in a friend's car with the windows down on a nice day. A vehicle in front of us kicked up a pebble that came in the back window and hit me on the face just an inch from my eye. It was painful! I'm sure that if the pebble had actually hit me in the eye, I would have lost it.

#20 mosteijn

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Posted 11 December 2004 - 09:34 AM

:smwink: Wow Willy, I would be scared to ever get back on the road if that happened to me and I'm glad you're ok!

Norman, SH 118 is a simply beautiful drive, I remember it so vividly having been to Alpine/Fort Davis/Big Bend so many times in my life. I also love the drive from Fort Davis to the McDonald Observatory.

#21 pmburk

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Posted 03 February 2005 - 01:45 PM

I like the look of bricked streets, and I think it would add a good bit of character. But...

Camp Bowie is only paved in red brick presently as far west as the West Freeway. However, it remains underlain with red brick at least as far as Mineral Wells. In fact, the westound lanes of US 180 between Weatherford and Mineral Wells were red brick until they were finally paved over around 1980. The eastbound roadway creating the present divided highway did not yet exist at the time the bricks were laid. The bricks made for a very unique country drive, but they weren't practical under modern truck traffic in 1980, and they certainly wouldn't be practical with the reinstatement of the 70 mph speed limit.


My uncle was stationed at Fort Wolters in Mineral Wells and remembers that old brick highway well. They had a sign at the base with a flipchart calendar listing the number of days between fatal car accidents on that highway. I believe he said the highest number of days they ever went was 20. One accident that he particularly remembered involved two vehicles - in the rain, no less - that came up off the pavement and collided in mid-air, killing everyone in both vehicles.

My point is that while bricks are lovely to look at, they aren't necessarily the safest or most logical surface. Particularly when wet! I would think that they would have to place weight restrictions on the bricked roads and maybe take some other precautions to make them more safe, although I'm not really certain what those would be.

#22 Wildcard

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Posted 02 March 2005 - 02:23 AM

Just a quick update I ran across while browsing around:


Road Crews To Replace FW's Red Bricks

POSTED: 6:43 pm CST February 28, 2005
UPDATED: 7:19 am CST March 1, 2005

FORT WORTH, Texas -- Major delays are expected in Fort Worth as road crews repave the section of Camp Bowie Boulevard between Interstate 30 and Eldridge Street.

Construction already is under way on the landmark road. Crews are tearing up the historic red bricks on Camp Bowie. Workers will reinforce the road before topping it with new red bricks.

The crews also will replace curbs and gutters along the stretch of road.

The work is scheduled to be completed by mid- to late November.

#23 Urbndwlr

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Posted 03 March 2005 - 01:43 AM

I'm new to this forum so please excuse me if I screw up this reply.

I believe, but could be wrong, that the new bricks that you see on Camp Bowie near Hulen St are not actually bricks. I saw the street under construction a lot while eating almost every week at the Original Mexican Restaurant. There is a concrete roadbed that the fake bricks actually sit on. When the street or water department have to do maintenance then it's just a matter of lifting out the portion of bricks needed and starting your work. Quite simple really. This process also makes for a smoother ride since the roadbed is quite level due to the concrete roadbed. I believe the "bricks" are actually died and formed concrete similiar to lawn paving stones.

I personally like the accent work done with the bricks such as the large intersection at University/7th St.

Referance to recovering bricks from other locations. The city of Fort Worth does have a "Brick" department. I've seen them out harvesting bricks from the Broadway Street RR crossing just south of downtown sometime last year. The city trucks have some kind of logo like "Brick Department" or something similiar stenciled on the door.

John Briggs

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John,

The bricks on Camp Bowie are real bricks. As you might have noticed in the recent FWST article, the new ones are Acme bricks, and the original ones were Thurber bricks. They did do a little experiment around El Campo where they did a strip with stamped pink concrete, but thankfully they didn't remove the real bricks and create an artificial brick surface.

To the complaint about the street being bumpy - yeah, so what? If you want a smooth, fast E-W thoroughfare, you can use the West Freeway. Besides, the rumble you get driving down the Boulevard actually helps slow the traffic on the street, making it more friendly to pedestrians and cyclists to cross and travel along.

#24 normanfd

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Posted 03 March 2005 - 02:09 AM

Does anyone know where the Acme bricks come from?

#25 John T Roberts

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Posted 03 March 2005 - 07:01 AM

Acme has several brick plants in the area. I'm sure it wouldn't be too hard to find which plant is supplying the bricks for Camp Bowie.

#26 lcbrownz

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Posted 14 February 2013 - 03:25 PM

East Rosedale in the Poly Area is brick with asphalt overlay. I was in the neighborhood today and noticed the brick street at some of the intersections.

Since the city is completely revamping East Rosedale (from the MLK to Miller), I wonder if they are going reuse the bricks under the overlayment?



#27 RD Milhollin

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Posted 14 February 2013 - 09:11 PM

It would be great if they reused them as pedestrian crossings but it is much cheaper to use textured/colored concrete instead. Brick streets work well where there is a lot of pedestrian or residential action and we want cars to go slow.



#28 Doohickie

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Posted 18 February 2013 - 12:20 PM

They're quite numerous on the near southside (north of Pennsylvania). In many cases, the asphalt has just eroded away and the streets look like a patchwork of asphalt and aged brick. I think it would add a lot to the urban/historic/gritty feel of the southside if they would just take the rest of the asphalt off. I'm sure FW South could launch an initiative to do such a thing.

 

We went to Tyler last year and there is a rather large district, not unlike Fairmount, where there are red brick streets (without checking, I think it may even be called the Brick Streets District or something like that).  We stayed at a bed & breakfast in that area.  We took our bicycles on the trip and enjoyed a nice leisurely tour of the area.  I'd love to see something more like that in Ft Worth's near southside.


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#29 Doohickie

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Posted 18 February 2013 - 12:22 PM

East Rosedale in the Poly Area is brick with asphalt overlay. I was in the neighborhood today and noticed the brick street at some of the intersections.

Since the city is completely revamping East Rosedale (from the MLK to Miller), I wonder if they are going reuse the bricks under the overlayment?

 

In the reconstruction of Rosedale, they pretty much went deep into the dirt and built from the bottom up; I don't think any existing road material was used.


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#30 lcbrownz

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Posted 11 April 2017 - 08:29 AM

East Rosedale in the Poly Area is brick with asphalt overlay. I was in the neighborhood today and noticed the brick street at some of the intersections.

What happened to the old brick that was discarded during the Rosedale Modernization of 2013-2016?






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