BRICK STREETS IN RIDGEWOOD
One of the most important elements in Ridgewood which would be preserved and appreciated through its designation as a Historic District are some of Canton's few remaining brick streets.
The first paving bricks manufactured in Stark County were produced on the Belden farm near Waco using a brick-making machine Henry S. Belden had seen demonstrated at the 1876 Centennial Fair in Philadelphia.
He proposed that bricks be used to pave Canton's streets and proceeded to pave Cherry Avenue between Tuscarawas and Second Street, S.W. as a demonstration project. He then paved the Square on Market Avenue in front of the Courthouse.
By 1891 Canton's streets were generally paved in brick and by 1892 Canton had become the center of the paving brick industry in the country.
In 1902 three major Canton companies were consolidated into the Metropolitan Paving Brick Company, with the potential to manufacture 65,000,000 bricks annually. Metropolitan was the largest paving brick producer in the country.
The streets and avenues of Ridgewood were paved with Metropolitan pavers. The records of the Canton City Engineer show that the city paved 25th Street in 1924. The rest of the streets were paved by private contractors and there are no public records.
As time passed and Ridgewood's brick streets began to require some maintenance, the City began to apply black-top rather than repair the bricks. By the mid-1970's only 22nd Street, N.W., Logan Avenue between 19th and 21st, and University Avenue retained their original brick surfaces.
When the City decided to black-top 22nd Street, the Ridgewood Preservation
Committee was formed. One of its first actions was to ask the Mayor and the Service Directors
to preserve the few remaining brick streets. As a result of this request,
in the spring of 1979 a crew was hired to be trained in the maintenance of brick streets. Over the summer they repaired 22nd Street, University Avenue and several other brick streets in the city. The crew has become a permanent part of the Canton City Street Department.
Ridgewood's brick streets are a tangible link with a part of Canton's industrial history and a permanent reminder of one of Canton's great success stories. Eventually, we hope that all the brick surfaces will be restored.
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