Were there concrete sidewalks in 1880?

Discussion in 'Photos & Videos' started by Zman, Mar 24, 2005.

  1. Zman

    Zman Member

    I have the Merchant's Row II kit that has a small concrete sidewalk at its border. I'm modeling a small New England commercial district, circa 1880. Should I cut out the sidewalk, and if so, what do I replace it with? Clapboard? Cobblestone?
  2. Muddy Creek

    Muddy Creek Member

    Concrete sidewalk construction existed but whether it was in use in the area you're interested in would require some research. Local historical societies would be a good place to start. Its hard to tell materials from old photos.

    Brick was often a sidewalk paving material, as was cobblestone, slate or bluestone. Wood was used but generally established towns would have replaced them by then.

  3. Ralph

    Ralph Remember...it's for fun!

    Bluestone slabs in my part of Upstate NY!
  4. Muddy Creek

    Muddy Creek Member

    I always liked bluestone. I lived in the Catskills in an area dotted with abandoned bluestone quarries. Much of it traveled south to NY City for their sidewalks. It was a good commodity for the Ulster & Delaware RR.

  5. Ralph

    Ralph Remember...it's for fun!

    Hey Wayne! Me too! I'm a Saugerties native son. Left there in 1977.
  6. Muddy Creek

    Muddy Creek Member

    Old home week, tonight. I lived a few miles north of there in Palenville. I was only there for a couple of years in the early 90's before moving back across the river to Dutchess County. I used to hike the trails along South Mountain which passed a lot of the bluestone quarries.

    An interesting thing I found in a couple quarries were what looked like the ruins of little warming huts built into the piles of broken stone. They were very small, only big enough for a couple of people to sit in on stone benches and had a tiny little fireplace with a stone chimney. They were about 4 or 5 feet high & I suppose had a small wooden roof or cap over it.

    Anyway, back to modeling sidewalks. I had collected some very thin pieces of bluestone chips to use for sidewalks on an HO layout that never got built. I suppose
    pieces of slate might serve the purpose also since it splits easily into thin slices.

  7. Will_annand

    Will_annand Active Member

    Depends on the area town/city as well.

    I am modellingSouthern Ontario in 1880-1900.

    There were concrete sidewalks in some parts of Toronto, mostly red brick cobblestones.
    In the smaller towns, the ones I am modelling, it was still wooden boardwalks in front of the stores.

    Of course, in some of the old photos it is hard to tell if it is a sidewalk or just smooth trodden earth.
  8. Zman

    Zman Member

    Thanks for the replies. I found some old photos of stations served by the N.Y. & N.E., and some of them appear to have wooden boardwalks, so I'm assuming a small commercial area might be similar. At any rate, I believe a boardwalk would look more interesting.

  9. nachoman

    nachoman Guest

    When I had the same question regarding sidewalks for my WWI era mining town set in the western U.S., a quick trip to the library answered my questions. As I learned, concrete sidewalks were pretty standard even in young mining towns by 1900, although they did not have the same construction methods as today. It looks like the sidewalks were made to different dimensions and of diffferent materials for individual buildings. In some photos i found, it looks like some buildings still had wooden sidewalks in 1900, while the adjacent building's sidewalk was concrete.


Share This Page