FORT SCOTT, Ks. — In 1952, Fort Scott was referred to as the city of brick streets because it had more brick streets per capita than any other city in the US.

These bricks are a source of pride for the community, and they’re something people have been fighting to protect for decades.

“We are a historic community, they provide an ambiance, a look that a lot of cities don’t have,” says Matthew Wells, Fort Scott City Commissioner, “We bill ourselves as historic Fort Scott, Kansas, and the brick streets only enhance that.”

Anytime you drive through Fort Scott, you’re sure to notice its iconic brick streets, and for good reason.

Work on them began back in the 1880’s using a unique clay native to the area.

“Red Hill had some of the most beautiful and dense clay throughout the Midwest region, so the bricks that were made here are a lot more dense and harder and longer lasting than some of the other bricks that were produced locally,” says Wells.

This has allowed the bricks to withstand the test of time, not just from the elements, but consistent efforts to pave over them throughout the years.

“They started doing that in the late 50’s and throughout the 60’s, their idea to fix the brick streets at that point was to pave over what they considered some of the worst streets,” says Wells, “A gentleman in town named Fred Campbell started an organization called ‘Save Our Brick Streets,’ it was very active out in the community, and they helped put a stop to the paving and helped start some restoration efforts throughout the 80’s. Through my efforts and the efforts of other people, I’ve restarted that ‘Save Our Brick Streets’ organization as a group on Facebook that people can get on, see the research and the pictures.”

While small, these bricks have paved a way for Fort Scott and cities all over the world.

“We have bricks that were shipped down to Panama and used in building the Panama Canal, we have bricks that were shipped up to Indianapolis…and in particular lay the brickyard 500 raceway, which is where they hold the Indianapolis Speedway races to this day,” says Wells, “If we put effort into maintaining our history, then those things will last indefinitely. If you haven’t been to Fort Scott to see our brick streets, stop by, take a look at them, they’re beautiful, when you drive around, see all the old homes, see the brick streets, flagstone curbs, it kind of just sets you back and lets you see the beauty of a bygone era.”

The brick plants in Fort Scott at one point provided 10,000 bricks weekly, but overall, more than 50 million have been produced just like the ones we see in the historic district.