Old sidewalk

When you think of an old sidewalk do you think of one ten years old? Or one that was poured when you were a child and you put your handprint in the wet concrete?

On a regular basis I walk along an old sidewalk. It was first laid (yes, “laid,” not “poured”) in the 1880s. It traverses about two miles of East Avenue, in the city of Rochester, where I live. The avenue and the side streets coming into it are lined with 19th century mansions. Some homes still have the old stone horse hitching posts in the front yard by the curb.

While much of the sidewalk has been replaced, there still remain many large squares of bluestone and slate – ranging from door mat in size to as big as a sheet of plywood – laid some 120 years ago. Over the years they have buckled from the frost and tilted from undermining tree roots. Some have cracked. Today the sidewalk is a challenge to navigate. The original tilted and buckled stone squares, interspersed with the concrete replacement squares are so askew and uneven that in some places, moving from one square to the next is like stepping up or down a stair. I watch people walking along, then suddenly trip, and I smile knowingly.

Because the stones are uneven, the sidewalk plows have difficulty clearing the sidewalk in the winter, making the 19th century walkway even harder to negotiate.

But I wouldn’t want to trade that sidewalk for a new one. It’s a piece of living history. I’ll continue to stumble, grin and bear it. And we should keep those stone hitching posts, too, for when we run out of oil and gasoline.

Explore posts in the same categories: Uncategorized

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: