The story of America’s first concrete street and the man who built it

Updated Mar 3, 2018
Screenshot from Columbus Neighborhoods: The First Concrete Street in America.Screenshot from Columbus Neighborhoods: The First Concrete Street in America.

The Columbus Neighborhoods video below tells the story of the first concrete street in America, which was built in Bellefontaine, Ohio, by George Wells Bartholomew Jr. in 1891. Susan B. Manecke, Bartholomew’s great-granddaughter, says, “I think that he had a big vision in terms of commerce in the United States, in the whole country, and if he could make a road that would allow farmers and merchants to get their goods to market without having the wheels of their wagons and their horses hooves get stuck in the dirt and the crud and the mud, there could be some real progress in the United States.”

According to Mark Pardi PE, Ohio Concrete, American Concrete Pavement Association, Ohio Chapter, Bartholomew bid the concrete pavement as an option to the brick pavers being used at the time, which were expensive and noisy. Bartholomew discovered someone in San Antonio who was German-trained in manufacturing cement during his travels as a tool salesman, and went to Germany to learn the process for himself.

The rest is history…