Some Bridgeville residents are not ready to let go of their few remaining brick roads, and they want council’s help to preserve them.
Larry Godwin, Michael Nixon and Louis Colussy spoke at council’s April meeting, noting the importance of maintaining roads built with the bricks of Bridgeville industrialist C.P. Mayer.
“Mr. Mayer spent a lot of time developing those bricks, and if at all possible, we would like to work with the borough in developing a plan for keeping those streets,” Colussy said at the meeting.
Five brick roads remain in Bridgeville: Chestnut Street, Gregg Avenue, Elm Street, McMillan Street and Dewey Avenue.
Mayer opened C.P. Mayor Brick Co. in Bridgeville in 1903, and the majority of roads in Bridgeville were brick by 1920. Mayer’s bricks were used not only throughout the South Hills but to build parts of the Panama Canal and the original Indianapolis Motor Speedway.
Today, a lone strip of brick remains on the racetrack.
“He’s a major historical figure nationally in American history and had a lot to do with the development and growth of Bridgeville area and Scott Township. It was all farmland 120 years ago,” said Nixon, a lawyer, strategist and consultant specializing in land preservation.
Nixon’s involvement stems from his late mother, who was a longtime volunteer with the Bridgeville Area Historical Society.
“I heard of their interest in preserving the brick streets and was glad to lend a hand and provide some assistance,” Nixon said.
Mary Weise , president of the historical society, admits it can be difficult to find the correct bricks and install them but believes it’s worth it.
“To me, it’s history. A brick street that lasts 90 years, don’t you think it’s on the feasible side (to save it)?” she asked.
Weise ‘ goal is to make Bridgeville’s history a tourist attraction.
Weise said they plan to attend the May 11 council meeting to urge establishing a borough-sponsored committee to preserve the roads.
“We love these streets, and I would love to be a part of the committee,” Councilman Bill Henderson said.
Godwin, a historical society board member, said one of the biggest problems is utility companies that do underground work and pave the streets with asphalt rather than brick as required in a borough ordinance.
“If the borough isn’t going to enforce it, (companies) patch (the streets) with asphalt, the easy way,” he said.
Godwin said the bricks serve as a reminder of Mayer’s contribution to the borough.
“The historical society would like to promote the preservation of these streets as a legacy to this early industrialist and this town,” he said.
Alex Felser is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 412-388-5810 or [email protected].