Forum Connect

Historic streets

  • 1.  Historic streets

    Posted 01-10-2019 15:09
    I was recently contacted by a Boston resident who resides part time on the historic island of Nantucket and is looking for some guidance regarding updates and modifications to historic streets.  (See below) Does anyone have experience in their communities that could be used as guidance here? Anyone involved with the NYC or Minneapolis plans she references?

    Greg Galer
    Boston Preservation Alliance

    ---------- Forwarded message ---------  
    If any of your colleagues nationally have information about repairing and maintaining historic streetscapes, I would so appreciate hearing from them. The Town of Nantucket is a protected Historic District and National Landmark, and has miles of 19th century cobblestone and belgian block streets flanked by distinctive brick and stone slab sidewalks.  Some are graced with 100+ year old American Elms. The streets are sorely in need of repair, and the town has an ongoing initiative to both repair them and make them more accessible. Unfortunately this has in places taken the form of a complete reconstruction, and some of the repair to date is less preservation minded than we would hope for. There have been changes to scale and design, and removal of historic materials without documentation.

    We are pressuring town elected officials to direct the Department of Public Works to engage with the Historic District Commission, and we believe this will happen in some form. But the HDC will need specialized advisors and a collaborative, cross-discipline approach if they are to succeed in bringing a preservation mindset to this significant public works project. Therefore, we are interested in any information about how other historic towns have maintained and adapted their 19th century streetscapes for both accessibility and preservation. We are also interested in referrals to consultants, architects, planners, and historians with expertise in historic streetscapes.

    We are aware of two plans: Towards Accessible Historic Streetscapes (New York City) and The Warehouse District Heritage Street Plan (Minneapolis). We'd love to speak with people who were involved with these plans. And we'd love to discover more examples like them. 

    Thank you, Greg, for sharing this appeal.  And thank you for everything you do for historic preservation in Boston!

    Greg Galer, Executive Director
    Boston Preservation Alliance

    The Otis House
    141 Cambridge Street
    Boston, MA 02114


    Protecting places, promoting vibrancy, preserving character

    **Be sure to visit our website to learn more.** 

  • 2.  RE: Historic streets

    Posted 01-10-2019 15:23
    I would highly recommend reaching out directly to Robin Williams at the Savannah College of Art and Design. A few years ago he did a comprehensive study of historic paving materials, curbing, and which cities have been maintaining their historic infrastructure.

    Check out this short Tedx Talk he gave on historic pavements. I thoroughly enjoyed getting to meet him while he was traveling around researching and getting to show him the German Village Historic District.

    Sarah Marsom
    Heritage Resource Consultant
    Tiny Activist Project

  • 3.  RE: Historic streets

    Posted 01-11-2019 09:49
    Historic Bosten is featured in January edition of Early Life Magazine.

  • 4.  RE: Historic streets

    Posted 02-02-2019 15:44
    It looks like Wilmington, North Carolina, would be a great city to reach out to on this topic. They are currently restoring a brick road (click here for pictures) and their city government's facebook page says:
    "City crews have completed removing asphalt (revealing a brick street) on North 4th Street between Red Cross and Walnut streets. Now that the asphalt is gone, this crew is re-laying by hand the bricks that were sinking or uneven. The repairs are part of the city's ongoing efforts to maintain brick streets in the downtown area. The city has approximately four miles of brick streets, some of which have been covered over with asphalt as utility and other repairs have occurred over time. Removing the asphalt from existing brick streets is one of the top priorities in the city's preservation efforts." 

    Sarah Marsom
    Heritage Resource Consultant
    Tiny Activist Project

  • 5.  RE: Historic streets

    Posted 02-03-2019 10:18
    Edited by Jeremy Woodoff 02-03-2019 10:20
    A Facebook group called "Friends of Historic Pavement" might be helpful. The administrator, Robin Williams, has been studying historic pavements throughout the country and encouraging their restoration. Robin teaches in Savannah, which has much historic pavement, including true cobblestones. It is a closed group, but you can probably contact him and ask for admission. I'm sure he'd be interested in hearing about your efforts on Nantucket and in Wilmington, if he isn't already aware of them.

    --I see this is an old post, and this suggestion has already been made. Sorry for the duplication.

    Friends of Historic Pavemen

    Jeremy Woodoff

    Brooklyn, NY

  • 6.  RE: Historic streets

    Posted 02-04-2019 11:29

    Hi All,


    The Historic Districts Council commissioned the study of historic paving and accessibility. Happy to talk to anyone if you have specific questions.




    Simeon Bankoff

    Executive Director

    Historic Districts Council

    p: 212-614-9107

    c: 646-942-7354

    f: 212-614-9127


  • 7.  RE: Historic streets

    Posted 02-03-2019 10:49
    Ann Arbor, Michigan has retained and restored its brick streets, but only in the Kerrytown area, and not because of historic district designation. The brick streets are recognized as identifying features of the district, and citizens have encouraged their retention. The work, which is not reviewed by the historic district commission, is supported and paid for by the Downtown Development Authority. Many public meetings and community input sessions affirmed the interest in the brick streets to encourage the DDA to restore as much as possible, while also changing the configuration to improve public safety.

    Ilene R Tyler, FAIA,FAPT, LEED AP
    Ann Arbor MI

  • 8.  RE: Historic streets

    Posted 02-03-2019 11:14
    In New York City, apparently unusually, everything within the geographic boundaries of a historic district is subject to review and approval by the Landmarks Preservation Commission. Other city agencies undertaking projects within the district have to apply and get approval from the Commission, just as building owners do. The Dept. of Transportation, for example, cannot resurface a historic stone street or reconstruct it without getting approval.

    Jeremy Woodoff

    Brooklyn, NY