Well, the blue paint we saw on the bricks on our street didn’t deceive. Columbia Gas was in the ‘hood today, and our quaint bricks have been ripped up and replaced by ugly metal covers, glued down by even more unsightly asphalt smears. It’s left our street looking sad, and scarred.
We have some hope that the street will be returned to something close to its prior condition, because the bricks that were removed have been neatly stacked next to the gaping wounds. But can our street ever really regain its formerly brickish glory? And how do you get the asphalt off of brick, anyway?
They’ve been working on a number of roads here in German Village lately. When you are talking about working with German Village streets, that means you are talking about bricks — lots and lots of bricks.
What labor-intensive work this is! Someone must individually remove each existing brick and pile them somewhere, then perform the patching work for the surface underneath the bricks, then replace the bricks, one by one. And it’s a job that can’t really be done by a machine, either. Although someone in Australia has invented a robotic machine that creates 3D prints of brick and then lays them, in German Village authenticity is crucial, which means that the original brick must be reused. Only a human bricklayer will do.
When you see the piles created by even one of the smaller brick repair jobs, you’re amazed at how many bricks there are — and then you realize with a start how many people must have been needed to lay the brick streets of German Village, and for that matter, most of downtown Columbus and the areas surrounding German Village, too. It must have been a staggering job that kept squadrons of workers busy for months. No wonder the employment statistics of those days were better than they are now.
If we want to nudge back toward full employment, maybe the answer is to get rid of asphalt and concrete and go back to brick-laying our streets — without the assistance of 3D-printing, brick-laying Australian robots.