I thought I was done with Salina's brick streets, but that was before Betty (Harr) Baxter sent me "As We Were, Vol. II". That 1989 publication has photos of Salina I'd never seen before, including these "action" brick photos.
The caption says the following. "First street paving 100 Block South 10th 1905. This was a brick paving with a brick foundation and is still in use today." "Today" being 1989, but I bet it also applies in 2017.
The fractured first sentence implies (to me) that this was the creation of the first brick street in Salina. How do you make a brick street, you ask? One brick at a time, apparently.
The second sentence says bricks were laid on a "brick foundation". I don't get it and I don't see what the foundation was from the photo. It may have been a clay foundation and clay is used in making bricks. Note that no one is standing on the smooth foundation material, as if footprints would be created that would spoil the foundation's shape. In the left-foreground I see a tool (like a rake without teetch) to smooth the foundation. I see one or two steam rollers that would press the bricks together and into a softer foundation. Whatever is going on, it did indeed work and Salina has lots of brick streets will doing their job more than 100 years later.
South 10th Street continues southward and a block before reaching Crawford it passes on the east side of the old South Park grade school (a brick building, of course). I spent my first 9 years on that same block as the school and still recall not only brick streets but brick sidewalks around the block with South Park, which were still there 10 years ago.
One thing I appreciate in this photo is the number of bricks needed. I knew it had to be enormous, but now I think of as REALLY enormous.
The long, thin shadow in the foreground of this north-south street seems to be from a tall, thin pole off to our right. That implies the photo was taken near mid-morning and we are looking north. But I don't understand the nature of the pole. If you have an alternative interpretation, please send it in.
Where did all these bricks come from? I'd read about a brick plant in Salina but never saw photos of one until Betty sent in that booklet of photos.
If case it's too small, here's the unedited caption: "Salina Vitrified Brick Plant on Gypsum ca.1940-1945. This now north side of Indian Rock Park."
"Vitrified" means heated into a glass or ceramic. In this case let's just take it to mean using heat to dry and harden a clay-like soil. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Brickworks . Gypsum street is one block south of east Iron Ave, close to the Smoky Hill River channel (and today's Indian Rock Park). I bet there was a source of clay nearby and of course the river provided water to soften the clay into a brick shape before firing. I wonder if the heat was from burning wood or coal? The tall smokestack might indicate coal (Pittsburg, KS had coal mines from about 1876), but that's a guess. Wood could have been used in the 1800s but trees would have been depleted rather quickly.
Sometimes bricks were stamped with their source. I've seen "Coffeyville, Kansas" stamped on sidewalk bricks somewhere, but don't recall seeing any Salina labels. Have you?
Here's a brick street photo suitable for framing and hanging on your wall (I haven't gotten around to it myself.) I took it last Spring near Lowell grade school (the school was having an open house). This is W. Beloit St. looking east toward Highland Ave. Sure there are some dips and chips, but for something close to 100 years old it's in good shape. Whatever that foundation is below the bricks has done well.
Bricks go back to the very beginning of Salina. In 1863 the Salina Town Company applied for a patent at the Land Office in Junction City with this description: "There is a total of 23 buildings, one is log, one is brick, and the remainder are frame.... The other buildings are a gristmill, saw mill, 3 barns or stables, a gunsmith and tin shop, hotel, store room, wagon shop, dry goods and grocery store, and brickyard and kiln."
Just for Fun
Taking a break from the Barn fixation, I'll return to the fixation on Salina's bricks!
Recently I got some "new" photos of bricks in Salina that are just too fascinating to keep on the shelf any longer.