We decided to restore the brick sidewalk.  This is a labor intensive process.  Buried beneath 4-6 inches of dirt and grass, about 50% of the original brick sidewalk remained.  Stepping back, its not actually the “original” sidewalk.  This layer of brick actually has another sidewalk underneath it.  Likely, the first sidewalk was installed in the early 1800’s.  As the street subsided, or was just compacted, it became too muddy I expect.  The homeowners would then shovel ash from their fireplaces onto the sidewalk to increase the height slightly.  Eventually, I guess that wasn’t enough, and they layed another sidewalk probably in the early 1900’s.  On the front side of the house (Burgundy St side), we were able to patch the existing brick pattern work.  The most labor intensive part is re-setting the curb stones at a level and proper elevation about 6″ above the curb of the street.  The stones are slate, and about 6″ wide X 48″ long X 24″ deep.  They are very heavy, and it required digging them completely out and prying them up by hand to raise them a few inches.  My neighbors, who are doing the work, are younger and stronger than the average troop.  Anyways, on the Gallier St side, all the curb stones and bricks were too low.  They had to reset all the curb stones, take up all the brick, lay down a bed of gravel and sand, and reset all the bricks.  We needed about 3000 additional bricks, the ones we bought were from demolished buildings in St. Louis.  Here are some photos.  The bricks with writing on them are old “fire bricks,” – thicker bricks used in the fireplaces to retain heat.  My neighbor had a few extra in his backyard that he contributed to the cause.  Note: major downfall of a corner lot, a lot more sidewalk to replace2013-09-23 08.16.07 2013-09-23 08.16.22 2013-09-23 08.16.32

Advertisements