Tuesday, February 5, 2008

Birth of my patio...


Just found this by accident in the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette:
100 YEARS AGO Feb. 1, 1908 FORT SMITH — The work of paving the streets of Fort Smith will begin March 1. The brick plant is now turning out 65, 000 bricks per day.
A friend of ours, who happens to know a surprising amount of town history for someone who dislikes the place so much, told us a little about this just a few weeks ago. Apparently, the brick plant just outside of town was having trouble shipping the bricks-- the roads weren't paved and couldn't withstand the weight of the carts. So the brick company offered to pave the roads (free of charge, I think) in return for the rights to drive their shipments on them.

I've mentioned before that our road was still brick up until about 15 years ago or so. I remember riding my bicycle on those bumpy bricks when I was a little kid-- it's part of why I loved this street and why I wanted to live in this neighborhood my whole life. When they finally tore it up to repave, a local antique dealer got most of them and through him, they made their way to the home's owners at that time. They created this magical little brick patio that we are so looking forward to using when the weather turns warm (that's a "street lamp" that you see in the foreground, btw, not some weird pipe).

We've made some alterations-- the picket fence was riddled with live termites, so we built a 4 1/2 foot privacy fence (I think it hides the yard just enough, which makes it like The Secret Garden for me); and someone broke the little flagstone bench, though there's a bigger more usable one in the yard. And we'd like to replace that scraggly business you see on the upper left with a Japanese Maple. I just need to watch the yard at all hours to see if it gets reasonable sunlight. On the right, those are 4 o'clocks and lantanas-- I adore them and they withstand the Arkansas heat so well; but they'll choke out everything else so they need some supervision (they were easily 8 times bigger when we took over the house than they are in that pic-- I spent an entire Saturday clearing them out, along with some massive canna lilies, so the Terminex guys could get close to the house).

But the patio itself will stay the same. Most of the bricks are stamped "Fort Smith"; some are from Pittsburgh, some from Coffeyville. I hear that the Ft. Smith bricks go for $5 a piece. Guess we know where to go if we can't make the mortgage...

4 comments:

Jennifer said...

It is an nice patio! So nice when people do NICE things to our houses. Neat to find out a little history about the bricks, too!

Sandy said...

Such a lovely patio. Hope all is well with you in Arkansas. I heard there was some pretty ugly weather last night.

Amalie said...

Thanks-- luckily, no tornadoes! Driving rain and some slick roads this morning, but no twisters.

LisaCarol said...

Trying again: I had a lovely, too-long comment written earlier this week when the computer and the internet had a falling out. Anyway, your patio is lovely. Our POs left us about six Coffeeville pavers, five edging a garden and one mostly buried. Nice since I grew up in Bartlesville, not so far away. We salvaged 1000+ sq ft of Chicago clay pavers three houses ago, in the freezing rain, and wound up moving them to the next house, which was three blocks away. (6 pounds a brick.) Fortunately, we got most of them in the ground before we sold that house, so we just moved a couple hundred of them down here, three states away.