Follow the Red Brick Roads

On July 11, 1899 newly bricked West 6th Street was opened to the public.

West 6th Street was the first bricked street in town, according to this clip from the July 12 Register. (Colonel Athelstan Owen Jones worked for Green & Hunter Brick Company of Thurber.)

brick 12-11-1900 regBrick paving continued into the 1930s. Many of the bricks would indeed come from Thurber, home of both Green & Hunter and the giant Texas & Pacific Coal Company. In 1901 the coal company would buy Green & Hunter. In 1907 Fort Worth would get its own brick company when the Cobb boys set up shop along Sycamore Creek. Clip is from the December 11, 1900 Register.

(Watch a 1930s silent documentary on the Thurber brick plant. Fort Worth’s West 6th Street and North Main Street are shown at these times remaining: -:44 and -1:00.)

bricks shinyEveryone is familiar with the bricks of the North Side (Stockyards, pictured), West Side (Camp Bowie Boulevard), and downtown (Main Street), so we can take those “as red.” But the South Side and the East Side have a few stretches of brick that haven’t been replaced by concrete or slathered over with asphalt.

bricks dug upSouth of the Convention Center, Main Street’s brick paving years ago was covered by asphalt paving. Recently the brick and asphalt were replaced by concrete paving. This pile was uncovered in the 400 block in 2015.

But new brick paving has been laid at intersections of South Main Street.

bricks here and there bryan daggettAccording to the mural, these bricks lie at the intersection of Here and There, otherwise known as “East Daggett at Bryan Avenue.”

bricks s&r 1913The building that now houses Shipping & Receiving bar on Calhoun at Broadway was built in 1913.

Nearby at the corner of Daggett and Bryan streets is another postcard from the past. Beyond the bricks is the Salerno Building (1909), where Jacob Salerno operated a saloon and grocery a century ago. During Prohibition Salerno’s saloon dispensed (wink wink) “soft drinks.”

In January 1917 the Star-Telegram reported (complete with dialect!) some excitement at the Salerno Building. (The robber was called the “‘Movie’ Robber” because on the previous night an “audience” of passersby stopped to watch passively as he robbed three men in succession at gunpoint near the T&P station.)

bricks-bewleyAnd on the eastern edge of downtown, East 9th Street at Harding Street still betrays its brick past. The buildings in the background are all that remains of the Bewley flour mill.

On the near East Side, East Stella Street.

When bricked streets suffered potholes, bricks were used to patch them. This is East Stella Street again.

The north and south approaches to the South Main Street railroad overpass are bricked. The overpass is sandwiched between the Kimbell and Producer’s Corporation grain elevators. Fort Worth once called itself “the grain center of the Southwest.”

The overpass was built in 1937 to span the tracks of the Texas and New Orleans Railroad and the Gulf, Colorado and Santa Fe Railway.

And lastly, the bricks on Thelin Street are always blushing, but normally you can’t tell because they wear makeup: This street is home to Tarrant Concrete Company, and the bricks are covered with an unflattering foundation of sand and cement. But a splash of water reveals their true color. Thelin Street is just south of the old Quartermaster Depot, and it used to be part of Hemphill Street. In 1930 the three blocks of Hemphill from the city limits at Fuller Street south to the crossing of the Missouri-Kansas-Texas railroad tracks were bricked.

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3 Responses to Follow the Red Brick Roads

  1. Buster says:

    A big reason we don’t have brick roads is that Thurber, the company town that manufactured the bricks, is no longer in existence. There’s a neat little museum on the site of the old brick factory operated by Tarleton State University that tells the history of the town. My husband worked there while in grad school at Tarleton. It’s off 20, west of Weatherford. It’s a nice little day trip and has a couple of pretty awesome restaurants. Another reason is that the upkeep is wildly more expensive.

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