Brick Sewers And Bricklayers Celebrate 150 Years
On Wednesday, city officials gathered for the 150th anniversary of the city's first brick sewer. For many, the milestone is more than just a celebration of sewers.
Fort Wayne City Utilities, the international bricklayers union and Fort Wayne's mayor joined together to celebrate the city's first brick sewer, which was built 150 years ago.
Mayor Tom Henry and bricklayers gathered around a cake decorated to look like bricks.
"This is a day of celebration,” Henry said. “We do have cake that we're going to be cutting here in a few minutes. A 150-year-old cake, or something like that.”
The event also celebrated the International Union of Bricklayers and Allied Craftworkers, which started 150 years ago this Saturday.
Glenn Head is a representative for the union and he's been a bricklayer for about 26 years. He’s following in the footsteps of his father and grandfather.
"It's kind of in my blood. I've been around it all my life,” Head said. “I really enjoy it. I mean, it's the best feeling of being able to go back, like I said almost 26 years, and can go back and look at stuff that I worked on 26 years ago."
City Utilities Spokesman Frank Suarez says Fort Wayne has about 1,400 miles of sewer drains, made from a variety of materials depending on what was popular at the time. He says brick was especially popular between 1865 and the 1900s. After that, cast iron, concrete and clay replaced brick. Today, most sewers are made out of an especially strong PVC pipe.
Most of the original 15 miles of brick sewers are still in place. Suarez says they’re still in good shape, but routine video inspections are done to ensure the drains stay that way.