The oldest sidewalk in Duluth?

sidewalkweb

A couple years ago I was out for a walk and noticed this section of sidewalk at the corner of Grand View Avenue and 17th Avenue East. I liked the nice touch of stamping the street name in the sidewalk, and I was impressed at the “1926” date – meaning this concrete had survived (with a crack, but still survived) more than 80 cold winters, hot summers and annual freeze-and-thaw cycles in Duluth.

A couple of questions:

1. Can anyone beat this 1926 date and find an older section of sidewalk in town?

2. Do any other parts of town have street names stamped into the sidewalks at intersections?

——-

On a side note, I recently spent some time visiting my brother in Portland, Oregon. In his older neighborhood, almost all of the sidewalks have street names stamped at the corners, along with the year the sidewalk was poured. It makes for a much more interesting walk (well, the gazillion flowering trees in bloom and lush gardens in every yard help, too). There was some pretty old concrete there, too… but a sidewalk surviving eight decades of Duluth weather is much more impressive.

15 Comments

Mark Ryan

about 11 years ago

I'm not sure but the surviving stairway that used to run alongside the Incline Railway at about 7th Avenue West just below Skyline may be older. The Incline was built in 1891 or so, but I don't know when the stairway was put in (or last updated).

udarnik

about 11 years ago

Curbs around Morley Heights have street names stamped (and IIRC, one of the names is misspelled...I'll have to go find it) in the curbs.  I don't remember seeing dates, though, although I would guess some of those are still original to the neighborhood.

The Big E

about 11 years ago

I had a little chill run down my spine last December when I walked over to the shuttered rec center at Portman Park and saw "WPA" set in the sidewalk out front--with all the chaos going on, it gave me a vivid strobe-flash contrast between the activism and energy of the New Deal era--even amid desperation--and  the malaise of the present day.  I appreciate that that involves a rather romanticized view of the 1930s, which included plenty that was awful, but that was what came to me in that moment.

edgeways

about 11 years ago

I've long been a fan of the WPA and the CCC, and wish they still existed. I think however the economic climate, as shaky as it is now, doesn't approach those years, and I hope it never does again. Though I suppose at some point it'll be inevitable.

udarnik

about 11 years ago

Lots of sidewalks at the State Fairgrounds have WPA stamped in them.  Very cool.

mevdev

about 11 years ago

I'm sure it is redone, but it has the potential to be the oldest piece of concrete in the state.



East 7th Street, from 25th Ave E to Wallace Ave.

"The second oldest concrete street in the nation is a three block section of East 7th Street in Duluth (25th Ave. East to Wallace Avenue). It was paved in 1909 using 'Granitoid', a quarry rock mixture with an unusual textured paving block-like surface that provided good traction for both horses hooves and motor vehicles. The first oldest concrete street is supposedly in Detroit, MI."

Sonya

about 11 years ago

There's a stretch of 3rd Street from 7th to 8th Ave E that is stamped (I think) "1909 D.H. Clough".  I wonder if that Clough is any connection to Clough Island.

There's also a sewer grate on 14th Ave E just above 3rd Street stamped 1892.

davids

about 11 years ago

The granitoid street that mevdev mentions has been re-paved. Local historic preservation activists tried to stop the repaving, but were unsuccessful--however, a chunk of it was presented to one of these activists as a gift. It now serves as a paved pad where they put their garbage cans and recycling bins on garbage collection day. They live on one of the streets that had granitoid paving--it lasted for nearly 100 years--a pretty good return on the initial investment in 1909!

(All facts gathered b/c my teenage daughter has been friends since they were little with the daughter of the historical preservation activist mentioned.)

udarnik

about 11 years ago

A correction -- the sidewalks at the State Fair saw PWA, not WPA.  They are of that era, but were a public works project, not a jobs project.

udarnik

about 11 years ago

"Say," not "saw."  Sheesh.

oldknifey

about 11 years ago

The sidewalks out in Gary are marked with the street names.

The Big E

about 11 years ago

I should also note that the sidewalks on our street, which were re-done 3 years ago, already have some good-sized chunks coming out of them.

duluth_bishop

about 11 years ago

I live on that stretch of 7th street [27th Ave East].  The granitoid works wonders for keeping Speed Racer and his buddies off the gas while detouring Woodland.  It's a tough stretch to teach kids how to bike on, however.

Todd Gremmels

about 11 years ago

Actually the oldest concrete is up around UMD off 24th ave East to the right off the cureve as you go up the hill. I believe that the concrete was the first conrete street system pored in the state. There is even a plaque in a square to comemorate the area. Some of the stuff is still in great shape and still being used.


Peace

davids

about 11 years ago

I'm pretty sure that the stuff that looks like the old granitoid is actually facsimile replacement that was poured recently to resemble the old stuff--not certain on this--I'll have to check with the historic preservation activist I mention above.

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