Saying goodbye to charming red brick path


When my husband and I decided about six years ago that it was time to buy our own home, I wanted an old house.

I wanted the woodwork, the creaky floors and the general character that come in a home with a history. After looking at only three houses in Hastings, my husband and I found that house.

It had a large wooden staircase to the second story, woodwork throughout the house, creaky floors, a big kitchen and a big yard with an old brick sidewalk.

The previous owners had done a great job of taking care of the old place and had even updated both the kitchen and one of the bathrooms.

So for the past six years, my husband and I have gotten away with making only minor updates to the home.

When our neighbor decided to finally build a home on the empty lot adjacent to ours, he asked if we would like to replace our old brick sidewalk when he put in his sidewalk.

At first I was totally opposed to the idea. I have always loved the brick sidewalk that has probably been there since the home was built in 1910. Those bricks probably came from clay in one of the city’s old brickyards.

Those bricks and that sidewalk were part of the history of the home and the property that I loved.

But when I started to think about the part of the sidewalk that had risen from tree roots of a tree now long gone, and about the ice skating rink that forms every winter when the snow melts and the water refreezes, I started to change my mind.

I realized that a new sidewalk would make scooping snow or blowing it off the sidewalk with our snow blower so much easier, and it would create a much safer pass for pedestrians.

I finally agreed to the project, but I refused to let all my bricks go. The stretch of sidewalk between my front door and the main sidewalk will still be brick.

I’ve argued with both my mom and my inlaws about this one, but those bricks are staying.

On a chilly yet lovely evening last week, my husband and I, along with another neighbor, crawled on our hands and knees as we pulled out each and every one of the bricks that once made up the sidewalk in front of our home.

They’re now in a pile where my garden used to be. I’ll be saving those bricks for a future landscaping project.

Now that my new concrete sidewalk has been poured and has dried enough that I can walk on it, I have to admit that I’m amazed.

I have never looked at a strip of concrete with the wonder that I do now every time I pull up to my house or look out my front window.

Some of the character of the brick sidewalk is gone, but I took plenty of photos to remember it. I know that I’ve made a change that my husband and I — and future homeowners years from now — will appreciate.


Shay Burk

Veteran Tribune reporter Shay Burk writes whatever is swirling around her mind each week. Read her columns on Tuesdays for her humorous thoughts on everyday life.

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