Most of the modern systems we enjoy today came to Clinton in the first decade of the 1900s. Water and electric services, a sewage system, and automobiles all made their debut before 1910. However, Clintonians were still driving on dirt roads.
The Clinton Board of Aldermen (similar to a city council) decided to make the investment in road infrastructure in 1928. They passed an $8,500 bond to cover the cost of brick paving for portions of Clinton’s most traveled roads – Monroe, Jefferson, College, Leake, and Main. They contracted with a Jackson-based company named Walter H. Flood, whose invoice to Clinton would reveal a total 614,000 bricks.
The installation of the brick streets began 1929. Mr. Louis Turner, a black World War I veteran, led a crew of three in hand-leveling, sanding, brick laying, and finishing the roads. The project was completed quickly in a few days, but a tall tale saying that Turner completed the entire project in only one day still persists.
After World War II, Monroe Street saw a huge increase in traffic. Monroe became Clinton’s main thoroughfare for decades, and the cars and trucks caused a great amount of wear and tear to the bricks. In an effort to contain the damage in the late 1980s, the city paved over much of the brick streets with four inches of asphalt.
In 2001, a new, major north-south passageway opened — Clinton Parkway. This road relieved Olde Towne of the truck traffic that had damaged the historic brick streets.
As part of his election campaign, then-Alderman Phil Fisher brought up the possibility of uncovering the brick streets. Not only were they part of Clinton’s rich history, they add a unique charm to Olde Towne.
After his election in 2013, Mayor Fisher made uncovering the bricks a priority. Since then, the City of Clinton’s Public Works Department and volunteers have uncovered nearly all of the brick streets. Large cutters broke up asphalt that was then removed in pieces. Bricks were realigned and tightened to restore the street to its full glory.
Olde Towne Clinton is a more beautiful place to gather, shop, and live, and the historic brick streets are now home to music festivals, parades, seasonal markets, outdoor movies, and more.