Sunday, May 17, 2009

Hayden Block

One of my favorite paving blocks, Hayden Block, was first made in the 1880s by the Hocking Clay Manufacturing Company of Logan, Hocking County and then later in Haydenville, Hocking County. I recently visited a place where one can find this paving block still in service today. German Village is an historic neighborhood just south of downtown Columbus, Franklin County. It’s a wonderful district where area residents have been striving to preserve the German essence of the original inhabitants by restoring everything from top to bottom—the bottom being their brick streets.

Brick homes and businesses are the norm in German Village, but I’m more interested in the streets surrounding them. This is the corner of City Park Ave. and E. Blenkner St. (39.952°, -82.997°). You can see that the pavers laid down over 100 years ago are still doing their duty. These are mostly Hayden Blocks, a paver that is unusual in size and therefore hard to match when they have to be replaced for some reason. You can see the patches of red pavers that have been inserted into the midst of the brownish Hayden Block.

On closer inspection you can see the details of this paver. Each measures approximately 10 inches wide, 5.5 inches deep, and 5.25 inches high, while weighing in at a hefty 16 pounds. They apparently didn’t wear the same over the many years of use which was a surprise to me.

18 depressions decorate the top of this salt-glazed paver making it rather distinct, but what makes it even more unique is underneath. Turn it over and you find that this paver is rather like a concrete block by having two hollow cavities. In fact, one will often find these pavers used like concrete blocks in building construction. I found the one above in the rubble of a deconstructed home in Haydenville.

Here’s a little help in visualizing how big these pavers are. Next to the two Hayden Blocks, one used in construction and the other in the streets of German Village, is a normal sized Lincoln Block paver. By normal I mean about 9 inches wide, by 4 inches deep, by 4 inches high, and weighing around 9 pounds. Regular pavers do vary in size from manufacturer to manufacturer, but in general follow the 9 x 4 x 4 dimensions.

And may I just reassure people that no German Village street was harmed in the acquisition of the above paver. I liberated it from a construction zone in the area.

I know of three more designs that I have yet to add to my collection. One is depicted in the above ad—the circle design very similar to the much smaller sidewalk pavers made in Nelsonville. And then there are two plain-faced versions as well.

Just in case you noticed something odd about the Lincoln Block I used for size comparison above, here it is a little closer. No, your eyesight is fine-—the lettering has been double-stamped. In fact, the word Lincoln has been triple-stamped. I’m not sure how one word can be stamped differently than the other, but here’s the proof that it can happen.