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  • Catherine Green

Black Locust Pavers

We always knew end grain blocks were used in the late 1800’s-early 1900’s as street pavers in the USA, Europe, and in Australia. But, we never made any for the streets. Since 1946 all blocks we had ever made were for interior applications. That is, until 2011!

In 2009, city officials from Chicago reached out and asked us to visit to inspect a street in Chicago still paved with end grain blocks, installed in 1909. The blocks were 4” thick! Soon thereafter we learned that there were many streets in Chicago once paved with wood blocks, but only one remained, appropriately named “Wood Paver Alley”. The original blocks were creosote treated, and installed with coal tar pitch. The local residences wanted them replaced, and funds were acquired. Like the originals, new blocks would be in ground contact, but creosote and coal tar pitch could not be used. Black Locust was chosen because of its superior rot resistance, without the use of wood preservatives. It was then our good fortune to be awarded an order to manufacture over 5,000 sq. ft. of 4” depth x 4” x 6”, 4” x 8”, and 4” x 10” sap free black locust blocks. New blocks were installed in 2011, and every time we visit Chicago we make a point of visiting and walking over our “Wood Paver Alley”!

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