Hello! Another new year and one, we at Cambridge Brickwalk Conservancy, Inc., look forward to with excitement. Now that we have our tax exempt status from the IRS we are looking at various options to continue raising greater awareness of our organization and its mission and to encourage legacy-minded Cantabridgians to donate to the cause.
Raising awareness involves education of the community about how brick can be designed, laid down and maintained to preserve the historical character of our city. Once people understand that brick, properly installed, can be acceptable to both disabled and non-disabled people, we hope to bring a more balanced approach to future city policy concerning this legacy from centuries past.
Brick sidewalks enhance the beauty of Cambridge and provide a link to the history of the City.
I was recently at a committee meeting in Cambridge. The speaker reported that bricks were not working on a raised path. I thought immediately of design, installation and maintenance. Engineering studies have shown that brick can last longer and remain more stable than other materials if properly designed, installed, and maintained. And future contemplated contributions to the City from CBC will enable those brick paths to be installed and maintained properly.
Brick holds up better than concrete. Look at the photo gallery on the website to observe what happens to concrete ramps in a very few years after installation. Concrete deteriorates quickly and doesn’t have the beauty or historical significance that brick sidewalks do.
Maintenance was the key to the usability of traditionally installed brick sidewalks – to correct the settling and drift of brick in the sand base that occurred over time in certain suboptimal situations.
The modern approach to brick sidewalk installation, setting the bricks in a solid underlayment of asphalt instead of sand, if slightly more expensive to install than concrete will cost less in the long run because of the great durability of brick and the reduced maintenance required.
Many of the brick sidewalks of Cambridge were installed in the 19th century and are still functional while concrete sidewalks have in most cases had to be replaced multiple times over the same period.
So it is now up to us to begin our fundraising efforts and reach out to historians, preservationists and those who enjoy the legacy of brick in buildings and sidewalks that distinguishes Cambridge from the “anywhere USA cities” in our country. Stay tuned.
Happy New Year and Best Regards,
Diane Whitney Beck