January 2018 Treasure of the Month:
Historic Wood Paver from Galveston’s Market Street
During the month of January, Rosenberg Library will exhibit an original wooden block used for paving Galveston’s Market Street during the 1870’s. The block was a gift of Kathleen Bracken.
Paving Market Street
In 1874, Galveston’s Board of Aldermen began accepting bids for the paving of Market Street (Avenue D), one of the city’s busiest thoroughfares. One of the bids came from R.W. Trundy, owner of Galveston Creosoting Works, a manufacturer of railroad ties. He proposed using yellow-pine pavers treated with creosote for the project.
Creosote is a substance derived from the distillation of coal and wood tar. It functioned as a preservative to make lumber more resistant to pressure and water and was most commonly used for railroad and marine applications.
Several Alderman had reservations about whether the newly patented process was effective and if would be adequate for heavy traffic. Although creosoted wood paving was common in the northern United States at the time, it was not widely used in the South. In the end, the Board voted to approve the use of creosoted wood pavement. These pavers lasted until the early 1900s when Market Street was repaved. This time, brick was the pavement of choice throughout the city, and the creosoted wooden blocks were removed. One of the blocks was salvaged and marked with an identifying plaque in 1909. It is now preserved in the museum collection at the Rosenberg Library.
The Treasure of the Month is located on the library’s second floor near the East Entrance. It can be viewed during regular library hours, 9am-9pm. Monday-Thursday and 9am-6pm Friday and Saturday. For more info, contact the Museum Office at (409)763-8854 x. 125 or go to rosenberg-library-museum.org.