Reading about Middleport residents’ concerns over keeping some semblance of brick street paving in their community (Sarah Hawley, “History Commission, EPA discuss Middelport project,” Sunday Times-Sentinel, June 10) prompted some thought about their point and how correct it is for the preservation of what makes the village unique.
Streets in brick may not seem like a big deal, but it does indicate a certain look to the community that reaches back beyond the introduction of automobiles as a means of getting around. Considering that those thoroughfares were only dirt at one time in the past, brick was a step up that also accommodated the image of the town and the period structures that endured over the years.
As such, brick streets compliment Middleport’s historic status as an Ohio River town that never really lost its connection with the Ohio. Nor with the traffic that plies its waters, be it either for commercial reasons or for pure leisure. And bear in mind that longtime citizens grew up with or experienced this particular type of street have their own connection to a time when the use of brick was more commonplace.
Of course, village officials are justified in their own consideration of any increased cost in maintaining the brick surface of the streets. The project discussed in last week’s article carries with it a fiscal urgency to stay within budget while making improvements to Middleport; therefore it’s admirable that the village and residents are looking at options to find a balance between need and reality.
From a personal view, I found brick streets lent a certain charm to Middleport when I first set foot in the community some years ago. They seemed as appropriate to the look the town projected as they were when, a couple of years earlier, I encountered brick surfaces in Athens as a new student at Ohio University. Brick streets went along so well with the famed Athens or Nelsonville blocks that went into university buildings of a certain age. The same applies to Middleport given the heritage and style of homes and businesses that grace the town.
That’s when a brick becomes more than a brick, for either historical or sentimental reasons. When I first met my future bride Beth, she resided in a large house on the 200 block of Third Avenue in Gallipolis that had been converted into apartments of various shapes and sizes. Really don’t know how old the place was, but it was razed in March 2017 and after the demolition was completed, we drove by for one last look. Beth stopped the car and asked me to rescue one of the bricks sitting in a pile on the site, which I did.
That brick sits on the front porch of our current residence. So forgive me a moment of introspection when I tell you it’s more than just a brick, but the key to a storehouse of memories that grow precious with each passing year.
Embarking on a journey that will lead me somewhere health-wise this week, I realize I may face some part of it alone — and then not so. For if the past few weeks have proven anything to me, there is a great deal of support and generosity from family and friends that I can rely upon.
It’s the kind of support that fills empty moments of recovery from a surgical procedure and calms you when knowing little about the aftermath falls prey to fear. For those positive thoughts, prayers and assistance that have been sent our way, I am forever grateful, appreciative and humbled to have known so many great people over six decades.
Not that I believe folks are out there waiting for this weekly exercise in creative writing of mine, but I will return to the keyboard as soon as I can. To those of you who have told me they enjoy seeing this column, I say thanks and I will do better in my attempts at keeping you amused and informed. I hope to see all of you soon.
Kevin Kelly, who was affiliated with Ohio Valley Publishing for 21 years, resides in Vinton, Ohio.