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City: Contractor Inadvertently Moves Freedman’s Town Brick During Street Work

A city contractor working on an ongoing drainage improvement project Monday along Genesee in the 4th Ward removed a portion of the intersection at Andrews Street beyond the authorized limits of the project, the City of Houston says.

Historic Freedmen's Town bricks
Historic Freedmen’s Town bricks

A city contractor working on an ongoing drainage improvement project Monday along Genesee in the 4th Ward removed a portion of the intersection at Andrews Street beyond the authorized limits of the project, the City of Houston says.

City officials say the contractor encountered a previously unknown concrete slab and attempted to remove it with a backhoe. He did not realize that the slab extended beyond the authorized limit of the project and when the slab was moved, an area of bricks approximately six-feet-long by ten-feet-wide was inadvertently disturbed on Andrews Street, according to the city.

The bricks that pave Andrews and Wilson streets in 4th Ward were laid by freed slaves and their descendants after the Civil War.

The contractor’s work was stopped after an observant neighbor contacted the backhoe operator. The contractor’s superintendent notified city staff. 

“We recognize the important place these bricks hold in the history of our city, and we will continue to work with the community to preserve the historical setting of the area. When the intersection is complete, these historic bricks will be reinstalled with improved infrastructure. The intersection and the disturbed area will be restored with bricks within the next three months. The relocated bricks will be placed on a solid foundation to halt the current rate of aging of this section of the street,” city officials stated in a news release.

The city says the area is not within the boundaries of the Andrews Street project, which was the subject of a temporary restraining order.

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