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Erie, Pa., keeps old sandstone street

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 22 June 2013 at 12:00 am

Dobbins Lane in Erie, Pa., remains a Medina sandstone street. The city considers the street a historical treasure. Medina native A.G. Irons posted these photos on Facebook earlier today.

Medina sandstone was used to build massive churches, government buildings and beautiful homes in the mid-1800s and early 1900s.

The local stone had other more pedestrian purposes. It was heavily quarried in that era for streets. Most of those thoroughfares were long paved over.

But a few remain. Medina native A.G. Irons, a 1994 Medina graduate, posted photos on Facebook today of a sandstone street that has been preserved in Erie, Pa. A historical marker notes the prominence of Medina sandstone for Erie streets more than a century ago.

Locally, I know of only one sandstone street: Beaver Alley in Albion. This street was recreated nearly a decade ago when routes 98 and 31 were dug up and rebuilt. Some of the sandstone blocks that were unearthed from that project were reset in Beaver Alley.

Photo by Tom Rivers – Beaver Alley in Albion is pictured after a dusting of snow earlier this spring.

I hear complaints from some folks about this street, that it’s bumpy and hard to drive on. But kudos to then-Mayor Ed Salvatore and the village officials at that time for working to promote our sandstone heritage.

I think we should put in some sandstone crosswalks and utilize this stone in other public places, perhaps swapping out some concrete sidewalks with sandstone ones in our historic districts.

It was a nice surprise to see an out-of-state city – Erie, Pa. – keep one of their old sandstone streets intact.