Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Des Moines Streets Paved with ... What?

Des Moines surfaced streets with cedar blocks from 1882 to 1891.  I didn't think cedar was that tough.  It's not even a hardwood, ranking only 900 on the world-famous Janka Hardness Scale which goes all the way up to 3680.  (Brazilian Walnut, Ipe (?) and Lapacho, which appear to be the same tree, own the 3680 rating).  I guess you didn't have to worry about moths eating up your street.  Brick arived  in 1889.  Is there anything prettier than a brick street?  Practical, no.  Beautiful, yes. Then the modern era hit town.  In 1901 asphalt was applied to 21st St., and concrete slathered on 19th in 1907.  But I surely do wish I could have seen the cedar-paved streets.  Wonder if they smelled good.

Source: Des Moines Register 5/12/1950