ANN ARBOR, MI – A brick street believed to be more than a century old in Ann Arbor’s Kerrytown district is seeing the light of day for the first time in many years.
As part of a city repaving project along Catherine Street, crews recently scraped off the street’s asphalt surface, revealing a two-block stretch of brick still intact from Main Street to Fifth Avenue.
The exposed relic from Ann Arbor’s past has been attracting attention this week and historic preservationists have raised the question of whether the bricks should be restored.
“They are a part of the 1900 streetcar route that extended down North Main to Catherine and then Detroit Street to the Depot Railroad station,” local historian Ray Detter wrote in an email. “I think they need to remain a part of the Kerrytown/Market area.”
“I certainly think that our historic brick streets should be restored,” added Christine Crockett, president of the Old Fourth Ward Association in the adjacent historic neighborhood.
“Let’s hope we can save the bricks!” wrote local historian Susan Wineberg, who lives nearby on Ann Street.
Robert Kellar, a spokesman for the city’s public services unit, said the Catherine Street project is a simple resurfacing and the asphalt that was removed will be replaced with asphalt.
Not too many of downtown Ann Arbor’s brick streets from a century past are visible anymore.
Detroit Street and parts of North State Street and North Fourth Avenue are still brick, but asphalt became the preferred material for street surfaces decades ago and other brick streets in downtown Ann Arbor were covered with asphalt.
Photos from The Ann Arbor News archives show a brick State Street being paved over with asphalt in 1951.
Many of the recently uncovered bricks along Catherine Street appear in good condition, while some appear to have been damaged in the process of scraping off the asphalt.