Court Ave. in downtown Bellefontaine, Ohio.
Court Ave. in downtown Bellefontaine, Ohio.

Paved in 1891, Court Ave. in downtown Bellefontaine, Ohio, is the first U.S. street to be paved with concrete.

A section of Bellefontaine’s concrete pavement won first prize for achievement in engineering technology at Chicago’s World Fair in 1893. Later tests revealed the pavement, which trapped many small air bubbles, attained a breaking strength of 8,000 psi, much stronger than most concrete used today.

While the first application of concrete pavement in Bellefontaine helped convince builders of its practicality, a series of demonstrations closer to the automobile industry in Wayne County, Mich., a decade later greatly contributed to its rising popularity.

At a 1976 ceremony designating Court Ave.’s first concrete-paved block a National Historic Civil Engineering Landmark, Bellefontaine Mayor William S. Meyer said, “the successful blending of concrete into a street material of such strength and durability paved the way, literally, for the vast network of streets and highways that has made our modern transportation system possible.”

The first concrete pavement in the world was built in Inverness, Scotland, in 1865. Some of the concrete pavement laid in Edinburgh, Scotland, in 1872 is still in use today.