© 2024 | Jefferson Public Radio
Southern Oregon University
1250 Siskiyou Blvd.
Ashland, OR 97520
541.552.6301 | 800.782.6191
Listen | Discover | Engage a service of Southern Oregon University
Play Live Radio
Next Up:
0:00 0:00
Available On Air Stations

Medford Experiments with Brick-like Streets

Medford began paving 45 miles of city streets in 1910-1911, hiring the Clarke-Henery Company to do the work.  However, as more houses were constructed, property owners along Geneva Street realized that their street would be one of the last paved and possibly not completed before winter rains made it a mud hole. Sewer and water lines were already finished so residents decided to hire the Bise and Foss Company to pave their street, using the “Brickolithic” method that consisted of molded concrete resembling bricks.

Geneva, Genessee, and Reddy Streets used the Brickolithic method. The paving of their streets started on a Monday and finished that same week.   A 6-by 10-inch pattern pressed into the wet road surface gave it a brick appearance. The crisscross design was more functional than regular paving because the scores between the brick designs gave delivery horses more traction and slowed down speeding
Model-T cars.

Reddy and Genessee have since been repaved with asphalt, but when residents of Geneva heard of plans to repave their street, they persuaded city officials to preserve their neighborhood’s historic character.

The 105-year-old “Brickolithic”-designed Geneva Street remains in use today.


Sources: Medford Geneva-Minnesota Historic District.”  National Register of Historic Places.  US Dept. of Interior, 13 Dec 1993. Web. 3 Aug 2015;  “Paving Medford Streets.” http://id.mind.net.   Ed. Truwe, Ben. 25 Feb 1911-4 Apr 1911.  Web.  2 Aug 2015;  “Why is Geneva Street cobbled?”  Mail Tribune 22 Apr 2007.  [Medford, OR].  Web. 2 Aug. 2015.

Luana (Loffer) Corbin graduated from Southern Oregon College, majoring in Elementary Education.  The summer after graduation she was hired to teach at Ruch Elementary, where she taught for 32 years. After retiring, Corbin worked for Lifetouch School Photography and then returned to Ruch as an aide helping with reading instruction and at the library.  More recently, she has volunteered at South Medford High.