ACPA added a significant artifact to our collection of historical items this week.
The samples are from what is believed to be the first concrete pavement placed in the United States, a 3 ft x 4 ft section and an 18 x 18 inch piece from the pavements built in Bellefontaine, OH, between 1891 and 1893.
What is most unique about these new artifacts is their size (largest Bellefontaine samples located in decades) and the dimpled surface texture. The dimpled texture was rolled into the surface, but from historic accounts was determined insufficient in providing traction for horse hooves. Also interesting are the remnants of base material adhered to the samples. Large, 3- to 4-inch, stones are partially embedded to the slab bottom.
These new artifacts will add significantly to the understanding of the first concrete pavement. Both were donated by CTLGroup, and Jerry Voigt delivered both last week for temporary storage at Quality Saw & Seal, an ACPA member. Historic records are being reviewed presently to determine if we can confirm they were extracted from one of the historic streets, and if so, why they were removed and how they came into CTLGroup’s possession. Another theory is that the slabs may be the lost slabs shown at the 1893 World’s Fair (Columbian Exposition) in Chicago.
The Bellefontaine pavement constructed in 1893 is still in service and represents the hallmark durability of concrete pavements, as well as the proud history of the industry.