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Archive for Tuesday, June 12, 2012

40 years ago: Mass Street scavengers go too far in their quest for old bricks

June 12, 2012

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From the Lawrence Daily Journal-World for June 12, 1972:

  • As reported earlier, souvenir hunters had been visiting Massachusetts Street during the recent downtown improvement project. Several people had helped themselves to old Lawrence-made bricks during the past week, with the city's blessing, but brick scavengers had gotten carried away over the weekend and had removed an entire section of sidewalk. Merlin Elder, foreman of the excavation stage of the project, said today that unknown persons had removed barricades and had dug up and carted off the bricks of a sidewalk along the north side of Ninth Street. The plans had called for that brick walkway to stay intact, but only a layer of sand greeted the workers this morning.
  • Meanwhile, foreman Elder had found an interesting souvenir of his own. He was pictured on the front page holding a section of an old wooden pipe that had been unearthed from the 800 block of Massachusetts. Both the water department and the gas utility claimed that it had carried their wares, and it had not been determined who was correct. The water department estimated that the pipe had been laid prior to 1868, while the gas company's guess was before 1906. The old pipe appeared to have been constructed of a light wood, possibly cypress or cottonwood, and was charred on the inside and tarred on the outside. The pipe did not appear on any city charts, but both utilities reported having found other segments of it during previous downtown excavations.

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