I am always amazed/pleased when FC posts something quirky that I happen to like too. I have a little collection of sidewalk stamp photos!
RE: "The undated clover-shaped Simpson brass plaque does well at indicating the ethnic identity of the company, but is confusing otherwise. Located on Morse Avenue east of Sheridan, it is undated and reads “Trademark Reg.- Laid by Simpson Bros. – Chamber of Commerce – Chicago.” Was Simpson a contractor, or the developer of this area? Which Chamber of Commerce was involved, and to what extent? "
I also found one of the these in Berwyn, in a bit better condition.
I searched the Trib archives, where someone in an article from 9/14/57 says there has been one at 2502 N. Drake since 1900. But more interestingly another person mentions that at the corner of Vine & Locust in Winnetka there is (was?) a copper plate bearing the inscription "Laid by E.R. Bradford, Evanston, IL 1897" So someone needs to go there and see if it remains!
My collection is here:
One fav is from the WPA.
Slightly tangental to this topic, there's a very old sidewalk that's made of stone on south side of 65th St. between Minerva and University (actually, the half-block between Minerva and the alley). You can see it in an aerial view - the color is different than the other walks around it.
I've yet to see another like it in this area, and I'm not sure what kind of stone it is. Somehow, it's managed to survived in pretty decent shape (aside from the wear rut down the middle) and didn't get replaced even when a new condo building went up adjacent to it a few years ago.
When? Why? Does it pre-date the wide use of concrete?
Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 09/10/2010 04:00PM by WayOutWardell.
for WayOutWardell--I'm not familiar with the area around 65th and Minerva, but from your description (and my knowledge of construction history), the stone sidewalk is probably slate. It was indeed used as a sidewalk material before concrete was commonly used (roughly, 1890's). Slate is a rock produced by the compression of clays and other rocks, and it typically cleaves into flat, fairly thin, layers, which makes it a great construction material for things like sidewalks, roof tiles, and the like. I first saw slate sidewalks as a young kid in Hyde Park, and those sidewalks may still be there, but I don't recall exactly where I saw them so I really haven't walked around the neighborhood to check whether they're still there. I have seen slate sidewalks in a number of areas around Oak Park, especially in the "Fair Oaks" neighborhood of Oak Park. You can see some examples on Fair Oaks Avenue just north of Chicago Avenue (that's about seven blocks east of the Frank Lloyd Wright Home & Studio).
I stopped by the sidewalk in question today; it does indeed appear to be slate, since the corners that are broken are showing layers. It has an interesting texture to it; somewhat sandy and grey in color.
The adjacent house (torn down in 2005) looked as though it was built before Woodlawn's pre-fair building boom of the 1890s, so that could also approximate the date of the sidewalk. Thank you for the insight!
Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 09/17/2010 11:51PM by WayOutWardell.
Update - the slate sidewalk on 65th has been removed as of this morning, being replaced with concrete. Actually, a lot of the older concrete walks are being replaced in that area as well. I don't recall seeing any sidewalk stamps as most of the walks being replaced were in terrible shape (except for the slate one, go figure). Some of the old walks held clues to where old buildings once stood; a short, broken step to a now-gone apartment building or a wide walk where a church entrance used to be.
I came across an advertisement for Simpson Brothers (the featured sidewalk stamp/plaque that's shaped like a clover) in an 1898 building trade magazine. The printed company logo is the same as the plaque.
Simpson Bros, Incorporated 1894, Phone Main 883
Cement walks, concrete combined curb & gutter, rock ashphalt floors and pavements
I just wanted to let everyone know that Berwyn is replacing some of its sidewalks. The Simpson clovers at 3301 S. Wesley and 3326 S. Wesley are still there, but the one at 6715 W. 34 St. disappeared between April 30 and June 6, 2015. So if you want a picture, you'd better get out there now.
I know this is splitting hairs, but Simpson's logo is a shamrock (three leaves), not clover (four leaves). There's always been plenty of Irish in the Chicagoland construction business and the shamrock is an often used symbol of that.