The statue you see of George Bartholomew on Court Avenue commemorates the one-hundredth anniversary of the first concrete street in the United States. In the late 1890s, George came up with the idea to pave streets that would otherwise be muddy and dusty with artificially made stone. After successfully learning how to make cement at the San Antonio Cement Co. of Texas, he founded the Buckeye Portland Cement Co. and began promoting the use of “cement stone” to the Bellefontaine City Council. Some council members were concerned the cement pavement would not hold up to steel-rimmed wagon wheels. Nevertheless, they approved paving an eight-foot section of roadway next to the hitching post with cement. Satisfied that the trial run proved its durability, the city council approved the paving of the square surrounding the courthouse with concrete, but only if George would donate all the cement and guarantee the concrete could last for five years. As it turned out, the concrete survived a half-century of use. Because concrete pavement was considered revolutionary at the time, the Chicago International Exposition of 1893 bestowed on George Bartholomew an award – First Place for Engineering Technology Advancement in Paving Materials. Where in America are you, anyway? Name the Midwest state where America’s first concrete street was installed, a state that borders one of the Great Lakes and whose southern border is defined by a river that is the largest tributary of the Mississippi River by volume of flow.
Answer hidden in this issue.
©2015 Randy Karr