brick streets

The History Of Tampa’s Reclaimed Brick Streets

Brick Streets

Drive down certain streets in the Cities of Tampa and St. Petersburg and you will find 100+-year-old historic brick streets instead of our common, modern-day asphalt.  Their texture, color and old-world charm add so much character to a neighborhood.  They also increase the property value, which is an added benefit.

Standard Brick Pavers’ first experience with historic bricks came on a large scale of almost 100,000 square feet at the Armature Works in Tampa.  The owner was and is committed to preserving this beautiful part of Tampa’s history.  We were asked to pick up the historic bricks, place them on pallets and prepare them for storage.  We were then able to re-install them in new locations that worked with the new aesthetics of the area.

We’ve gone on to repair historic bricks in the streets of St. Petersburg and within Tampa’s Palma Ceia neighborhoods.  We’ve repaired and installed them at private homes as well.  See photos from a project on Davis Island in Tampa.

An interesting fact about these bricks is that they are incredibly dense and have a much higher PSI than typical concrete or brick pavers.  They are completely inconsistent in their length, width and height.  No two bricks are the same.  Some of this variation has to do with the temperature and other environmental conditions as the bricks cured.  There is no doubt that this variety adds to the areas character and is a defining feature of revitalized local areas like Armature Works.

You might also notice as you walk along one of these historic brick streets that they are made up of a variety of brick types.  Each brick type has its own origin and history.  We have seen streets in St. Petersburg that use bricks from the same manufacturer.  However, here in the City of Tampa, they are often a mixture of ten or twenty different manufacturers – laid together to construct the street.  Typically, the manufacturer’s name is stamped on the brick.  Some are from up north and other areas.  Each type gives a nod to our country’s history.

Reclaimed Bricks

Many of the bricks in the City of Tampa were made by the Augusta Brick Company in Georgia.  You can see their name stamped on bricks all throughout the City.  The Augusta name was actually not visible when they were first installed.  It was used as a spacer bar to install the bricks.  These bricks were originally installed on their side, but over time the novelty of the Augusta name stamped on the bricks has become something people love to see.  We’ve discovered that the Augusta Brick Company was sold some time ago.  The land where the plant originally stood is now just a vacant lot, and all the brick molds have been lost.  We have not researched to see if any of the other brick plants are still open.  That would be an interesting assignment for another day.

Today we will continue to do our best to preserve this beautiful part of Tampa’s and St. Petersburg’s history.