Endcap: CSI – The Case of the Mystery Brick

Words: Bronzella Cleveland

Fall 2009


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Dave Branch
is currently a Project Manager with Payne and Associates Architects in Montgomery, Ala. Dave has more than 16 years of design experience in both commercial and residential design industries. He can be contacted at dbranch@paynearch.com.

Image

Dave Branch
is currently a Project Manager with Payne and Associates Architects in Montgomery, Ala. Dave has more than 16 years of design experience in both commercial and residential design industries. He can be contacted at dbranch@paynearch.com.

Image

Dave Branch
is currently a Project Manager with Payne and Associates Architects in Montgomery, Ala. Dave has more than 16 years of design experience in both commercial and residential design industries. He can be contacted at dbranch@paynearch.com.

Reading about and researching historical places and events has always been of interest to me, and can keep me occupied for hours. During a recent visit to my hometown of Albany, Ga., I stumbled across another great historical fact-finding quest without looking. Albany is located in southwest Georgia, and was founded along the banks of the Flint River a little over 170 years ago. In this region, the soil is predominantly consists of red clay.

It was during the early years of Albany’s growth that the Albany Brick Company sat on the banks of the river. The brick manufacturing company has long since gone and the only reminders of this former business are what the backhoe digs up while preparing graves at the Riverside Cemetery, which now occupies that land. Sounds like a morbid fascination you say? Not really. Several years ago, I worked on a project with my former employer to help restore the cemetery after a devastating flood. It was during this time that I learned of the former brick plant. The old bricks that are dug up these days usually are placed in a pile and used for any miscellaneous masonry work. The neat thing about these bricks was that they typically were stamped with “Albany Brick Company, Albany, Georgia.”

During this particular visit to my hometown, I decided I wanted to get a few bricks and take them back home to Montgomery, Ala., and use them for a project at my home. While digging through the few bricks available on this particular day, I came across a brick stamped “Croton Landing Brick Company.” The brick was definitely old, but pursuing my quest for “Albany Brick,” I threw it aside.

Masonry Design Magazine
Albany, GA.

Arriving back at home with only three bricks in hand, I set them aside in my garage. It was only a few weeks later that I thought of the brick again and decided to search online for the Albany Brick Company’s history. With no success, I remembered the brick I tossed aside.

It was during this web search that I found www.brickcollecting.com and a link to Croton Landing Brick Company. This website is dedicated to all sorts of information on old bricks and where they were manufactured, and the time period when they were made. Additionally, there are books on the history of brick making, brick making in certain locations of the United States, and links to various other brick-related sources.

What I discovered is that Croton Landing Brick Company was in upper state New York where the founder of Albany came from. The brick also was for sure more than 100 years old and possibly even older since the website shows that they manufactured brick in the late 1880’s. It was only then that I sank down in my chair with the thought that I had really thrown away a piece of history. Needless to say, during my following visit to Albany, I made a point to go to the brick pile – it was gone and so was the little piece of history. Hopefully, more bricks will continue to be unearthed, and I will find a another piece of brick history, but for now I need to trade in my “CSI Hat” for my “Design Hat” and get back to work.

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