Preserving a brick sidewalk

BEVERLY-Though many old sidewalks have come and gone, one brick sidewalk in Beverly is being restored to its former glory in front of the Oliver Tucker Museum along Main Street.

Sue Trotter, past president of the Lower Muskingum Historical Society, said the sidewalk needed to be preserved.

“In town you look to have historical things,” she said. “Since they’re doing away with the brick sidewalk, we wanted to keep it.”

Though Trotter was unsure how long the sidewalk had been there, estimating since the late 1800s, she said it was one old thing worth keeping.

Her idea to preserve the sidewalk led her to a local boy scout troop.

“I guess we couldn’t think of anyone else to do it,” she joked. “We thought for sure (one of the boy scouts) would be working on some badges.”

Nathan Bullock, 17, of Beverly, was ready to take up the challenge of repairing and restoring the old brick work in order to earn his Eagle Scout badge.

“I was looking for an Eagle Scout project,” he said. “The museum came to my scout master and asked if I wanted to do it. I said ‘sure.'”

Bullock has been working on the sidewalk since the end of June, and has gotten some help from his friends, other Eagle Scouts and his father.

“It turned out to be a little bit bigger than I thought,” he said. “Other than that, it turned out to be a pretty good project.”

Bullock said the help was much needed.

“I helped them with their (Eagle Scout projects) and they came back and helped me,” he said. “It’s nice because I needed some ‘older’ help: a lot of the kids in the troop now are smaller and younger. We had to do a lot of heavy lifting.”

After tearing up the old brick, leveling the ground out and putting the brick back and making sure they stay together with plastic border and polymeric sand, which hardens to be cement-like, the sidewalk is nearly finished.

Bullock’s father Jeff, 51, said it’s been quite the experience helping his son and guiding him toward his badge.

“He’s a good worker, always has been,” he said. “This is no different. He’s sticking to it. That’s nice to see.”

Bullock said the cost of the project has reached about $700 total, a little more than the $400 put aside by the museum.

“(Some challenges were) uneven ground,” he said. “The gravel kept settling; there were a lot of spots we had to fill back in.”

He said originally the project called for 13 tons of gravel, but it ended up being 21 tons instead.

Though the bricks currently have a gray tinge from the polymeric sand, Bullock said that will wear soon wear away, letting the bricks go back to their original color.

He’s proud of the project, he said.

“I guess years down the road, I can drive past and say I did that,” he said. “Looking at the before and after pictures, and knowing you did that with your own hands (is rewarding).”