Site author Robin B. Williams leading a walking tour during the 9th Savannah Symposium: The Architecture of Trade, pointing out that the vitrified bricks used to pave Rossiter Street near the waterfront came from Birmingham, Alabama.  Tree roots had pushed up some bricks, allowing this one to be picked up.  February 2015.

Site author Robin Williams in front of one of the several impressively preserved brick intersections in the German Village neighbourhood of Columbus, Ohio, a city that boasts more preserved streets than any other city in the country (with the possible exception of St. Petersburg, Florida).

Site author Robin Williams in front of one of the several impressively preserved brick intersections in the German Village neighbourhood of Columbus, Ohio, a city that boasts more preserved streets than any other city in the country (with the possible exception of St. Petersburg, Florida).

 

About

Site author: Robin B. Williams, Ph.D., Chairman, Architectural History department, Savannah College of Art and Design.

Since the 1980s, my research has focused on the forces shaping modern cities, from politics, social pressures to changes in technology.

I have been fascinated by old pavement since I was a child, when I would relieve the monotony of walking three-quarters of a mile to my elementary school in my hometown of Toronto, Canada, by trying to find the oldest concrete sidewalk stamp.  My scholarly interest in pavement was piqued in Savannah by the unusual triangular patterns of asphalt blocks around the squares in downtown Savannah, with formal research into pavement beginning in 2009.   In 2013 I published the journal article “`A well-paved city’: Variety, locality and modernity in paving Savannah’s streets,” ARRIS: Journal of the Southeast Chapter of the Society of Architectural Historians 24 (2013): 20-39.  A single piece of pavement served as a symbol of global trade for the 9th Savannah Symposium: The Architecture of Trade, which I co-directed -- "Savannah's Chinese Cobblestone".

 

ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS

Although my interest in studying street pavement developed in response to the remarkable diversity and generous extent of historic pavement surviving in Savannah, my pursuit of a broader study was encouraged initially by Dr. Robert Breugmann at the University of Illinois at Chicago.  Support for research trips during the summer of 2016 was provided by a SCAD Faculty Sabbatical Grant.   

historicpavement.com in the news

Patrick Sisson, "Step onto the past: new website explores our cities' historic streets and roadways," Curbed.com, September 15, 2016.

Robin B. Williams, "Neglected Heritage Beneath Our Feet: Documenting Historic Street and Sidewalk Pavement Across America,” The Cultural Landscape Foundation Website, December 7, 2016.