Monday, February 22, 2010

Glass brick ...

It wasn't all that long ago that Main Street sidewalks all across Montana -- even in the smallest towns -- would have areas of heavy glass brick embedded in the concrete. They were there for a purpose, allowing light to filter down into the basement "vaults" that extended under the sidewalks in front of many buildings. You don't see them much anymore, and it's kind of too bad.

Here's a shot of some of that glass brick taken from a slightly different angle -- looking up from the basement of an old commercial building. I shot this image up in Havre, back in 2003.


  1. Most of the spooky old sidewalk freight elevators are gone too. As a kid I recall a special thrill if I'd ever catch the right moment to see them loading stuff to 'disappear' into the nether reaches of the street. It was like magic.

  2. Yep, I definitely remember those trapdoors, too ... I imagine such things hardly exist at all in Montana anymore, though they were once pretty common in all but the smallest towns. (Seems like I've seen people using the trapdoors to load supplies into the basements of a couple of Butte bars in recent years, though.)

    I wonder if little sidewalk details like that still exist outside the state? I'd bet that liability concerns and such are eliminating them everywhere, which is kind of too bad. I know that the Montana Department of Transportation, at least, prefers not to have sidewalk vaults alongside its state-maintained streets ...

  3. doncha just LUV the internet

  4. Wow, that's pretty cool! Definitely not something we're likely to see in Montana, though ... :)