Installed in 1891, Court Street is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. Photo: Wikimedia
Installed in 1891, Court Street is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. Photo: Wikimedia

I guess no one disputes that an 8-foot-wide section of Main Street in Bellefontaine, Ohio, is the nation’s first concrete roadway.  The 1891 pavement is no longer in service, but an 1893 application is.

Back then, macadam was the pavement of choice.

Proving that elected officials haven’t changed in more than a century, the city council couldn’t find another city that’d used a mixture of sand, stone, cement, and water as a surface as opposed to base course. "Artificial stone's" developer convinced them to try it by posting a $5,000 bond guaranteeing it’d last five years.

George Bartholomew received First Place for Engineering Technology Advancement in Paving Materials at the Chicago International Exposition of 1893. The bond wasn't necessary after all.

In another show of how little things have changed since then, the project wouldn’t have succeeded without the expertise of a county engineer. James Wonders designed the pavement and oversaw construction.

This town of 14,000 is justifiably proud of the achievement. If you visit, go to the Court Street side of the Logan County Courthouse to see the second installation and a statue of Bartholomew.

No statue of Wonders, though.