Wandering around Tampa the other day I ended up at Ballast Point Park. It is a small green space hugging the bay, with a nice fishing pier and playground. As I strolled the perimeter, the names on the bricks in the road caught my eye.
As I am wont to do when my curiosity is piqued, I crisscrossed the entire lane looking at the names. Copeland Inglis was the predominate manufacturer though I found six others, in varying amounts.
Walking back to my car, the name of the park hit me – wait for it – like a ton of bricks. No wonder the park had that name, bricks like these were often used as ballast!
After a bit of online research I learned that Tampa purchased millions of bricks from southern manufacturers in the early 1900s. They were used to “pave” the way for that new mode of transport, the automobile. Copeland Inglis, Coaldale, Augusta, Southern Clay Mfg, and Rockmart (listed in order of prevalence) were part of that process.
The exceptions were the few Baltimore bricks (from Maryland) and the lone Catskill Block (from a brick maker in the Hudson River valley). As for this smattering of bricks from up north, there is a very high likelihood that they arrived in Tampa as actual ship ballast.
I never know where my explorations are going to lead me but I do know it’s going to be interesting!