First and Oldest Concrete Pavements in U.S. – Main Street and Court Avenue, City Square in Bellefontaine, OH

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Pavement Category: Municipal Street

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  • The first concrete pavement constructed in the U.S. was Main Street, built next to Logan County Courthouse in Bellefontaine, Ohio. George W. Bartholomew who founded the Buckeye Portland Cement Company, built the section in 1891 after advocating for it for a few years. He had to post a $5,000 bond for a five year guarantee. After the success of Main Street, the other streets surrounding the Courthouse Square were paved in concrete as well. Court Avenue and Opera street were paved in 1893 with Columbus Avenue and the rest of Main Street being paved the following year. Collectively, the paving done on all four streets totaled about 7,700 square yards. William T.G. Snyder is credited as the first concrete paving contractor due to his work on the rest of the square.

    This group of pavements served as bare concrete through 1950. Main Street was resurfaced in 1960 due to a broken water main. The Court Avenue section is the oldest concrete pavement still in service in the U.S. It has undergone some periodic pavement rehabilitation over the years including 1962, the early 1990s, and 2008.

    The pavement was 6 inches thick built in two lifts with hard aggregate so horseshoes wouldn’t wear the pavement. The 4 inch bottom section used 1 part cement to 5 parts gravel with a maximum aggreage size of 1 1/2 inches and a water to cement ratio of 0.60. The top lift was a 2 inch section that combined 3 parts cement with 5 parts sand with a 1/2 inch maximum aggregate size and a water to cement ratio of 0.45. Additionally, quarter inch wide grooves that were a half inch deep were placed to help ensure horses wouldn’t slip. The pavement was also cured using a 2 inch layer of wet sand for a period of 2 weeks. The project cost $2.25 per square yard.

  • Year Built: 1891 and 1893
    Still in Service: Yes
    Pavement Type: Plain Jointed
    Thickness: 6 inch (4 in top/2 in bottom)
    Unit Cost ($/sqyd): $2.25
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