Sign for Oldest Concrete Street.
A sign reminds that you are in the presence of History.

Oldest Concrete Street in America

Field review by the editors.

Bellefontaine, Ohio

George Bartholemew is celebrated as the man who brought cement and concrete to the Midwest. Called "artificial stone" in the 19th century, the newfangled mixture called concrete hadn't yet been used to pave streets. George convinced the Bellefontaine City Council to try it in 1891 on Court Avenue, around the Logan County Court House. He posted a bond guaranteeing the pavement would last at least five years.

Over one hundred years later, George's concrete street was still there, or at least a city block's worth (the rest had been replaced by more modern paving materials). It's now known as the "World's Oldest Concrete Street" -- signs near the courthouse and along the street cement the claim.

George Bartholomew statue.

In 1991, they erected a statue of George Bartholemew in the center of the concrete street, since motor traffic is no longer permitted. So that byway may last a few more centuries....

A plaque points out: "Here started the better roads movement."

The other odd claim to fame: McKinley Street -- named for the President -- is only 15 ft. long, making it the World's Shortest Street. There's a little sign on a pole so you won't miss it.

Update - July 2007: Frank Devlin wrote us about a new "World's Shortest Street": "Guinness Book of Records states that the worlds shortest street is in Scotland! Ebenezer Place in Wick, Caithness was measured at 6-ft. 9-in. -- yes six feet nine inches. The Guinness Book of Records entered this in Nov 2006."

RoadsideAmerica.com Team Field Report

Oldest Concrete Street in America

Address:
Court St., Bellefontaine, OH
Directions:
A statue of George Bartholemew guards the entrance to Court Ave. on the east side of S. Main St. Court Ave. is the south street in the courthouse square.
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World's Shortest Street

Address:
McKinley St., Bellefontaine, OH
Directions:
McKinley St. connects Garfield Ave. W. to W. Columbus Ave. as the short side of a triangle.
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Nearby Offbeat Places

World's Largest Loaf of BreadWorld's Largest Loaf of Bread, Urbana, OH - 18 mi.
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In the region:
Lighthouse of God Prayer Tower, Columbus, OH - 46 mi.

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November 25, 2014

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