Supposedly unique in the USA, Camac Street between Walnut and Locust is paved with wooden cobblestones.
Single-lane Camac street is also known as “Avenue of the Artists”. Historically it was home to many important artist clubs and organizations, such as the Philadelphia Sketch Club, started in 1860 and led by Thomas Eakins.
It is surmised that the street was paved with wood instead of the traditional stones or granite belgian blocks to help mute the sounds of the horses’ hooves as traffic passed by the artist gatherings.
These square blocks of wood were re-discovered in the late 1980’s during a street resurfacing project, and the city decided to repave this one section with wooden replicas of the originals.
The wooden blocks are currently being replaced, which needs to happen every several years, as they begin to disintegrate and rot. Wooden block streets are attractive, but not enitrely practical.
It should be pointed out, however, that asphalt also requires replacement or resurfacing relatively often.
Though there don’t seem to be other preserved or refurbished streets like this in this country, wooden cobblestones can be found in historical sites around the world, from Prague to Havana.
5 thoughts on “Cobblestones”
Letting you know that there are end grain wooden cobblestones on Ludlow Street between 22nd and 21st, next to Mutter Museum. A police officer showed them to me today. I wonder how old they are.
in the early 80’s Queen st in the heart of Brisbane Australia was getting a makeover and being turned into a mall in the process of laying the HV underground cables we unearthed thousands of timber cobblestones 2 metres underground they stand roughly 30cm tall and cut in hexagonal shapeand at there widest 10cm across and they lock together perfectly sadly nobody informed anyone about them and they were trucked off to the tip i grabbed 10 or so for myself the tops of them appear to have layer upon layer of white paint on them they are convict made and would love to know more about them glenn
there used to be some wooden cobble showing under some worn tarmac at the north end of the Stein in central Brighton UK
I always enjoy reading about wood block streets. We have a historical section on our website. We could make some new blocks for you. We have species for exterior application that won’t rot or expand or contract. Call or write me…I’ll tell you more. Norm
Wood CobbleStone pavement is quite common here in Pensacola during it’s lumber boom in the 1880’s.
I would think it was common in other lumber towns as wood was so cheap.