Old bricks from Water Avenue serve new purpose for Old Depot Museum

Published 9:06 pm Friday, April 6, 2018

Baker King and fellow members of Boy Scouts Troop 46 have given the old bricks that once lined Water Avenue a new purpose.

Last Saturday, King, his troop and volunteers helped build a patio behind the Old Depot Museum from the bricks.

“These bricks were pulled off of historic Water Avenue and donated to the Old Depot Museum, which is a museum that likes to preserve a lot of the history of Selma. We thought it’d be a great idea to hold events out here and have loud music and cookouts and things,” King said of his Eagle Scout project. “We thought it’d be a really good idea if we gave them somewhere nice and done up where they could do all these things.”

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The bricks were pulled up from Water Avenue last year during a streetscape project and donated to the museum. Beth Spivey, curator of the museum, said after an article in the Times-Journal mentioned the bricks and the idea of a patio, King asked her if he could build it as his project.

“She thought it’d be a great idea to do something like this, and it just so happened that at the time I had just come to the point where I needed something to do for my Eagle project, so it was like a perfect match, “King said. “She needed something done, and we needed something to do.”

So, they got to work. A few days ahead of time, a crew came in to dig up the dirt and get the area where the bricks were going to be laid level.

“I couldn’t have done it without everyone’s help. Mr. Mike Bruner and Davis Henry helped us out a lot and brought in a lot of gravel. Danny Lane sent a crew out here to help us get it level,” King said. “Everybody that showed up today –– boy scouts, family members, friend –– they were a big help, and we couldn’t have done it without any of them.”

Brick by brick, King and his crew built the patio. The troop had an assembly line going. Bricks were wheeled over in a wheelbarrow, handed off, laid down, and hammered with a mallet to fit them into place.

“It was a lot of hard work paying off. It’s been a long ride from the beginning of Boy Scouts to where I am at the end now, and it was kind of symbolic,” King said. “Hammering the bricks down was kind of like putting the end piece on my time in scouting, at least for now.”

A couple of hours into the brick laying process, they were all laid down except for the final brick.

Before King laid down the final brick and hammered it in, he kissed it.

“I’m just glad to be done with it. My arms are getting tired, and my knees hurt. It’s hot, I’m ready to go eat,” he said after the final brick was laid. “Hopefully it’s something the Old Depot can be proud of. It’s going to be here for a long time. I can come out here and say I’m part of something. It’s just really cool.”

Spivey said she couldn’t be more pleased with how it turned out and can’t wait to show it off to visitors. The troop put down three benches on the patio and landscaped around it as well.

“Everything fell into place perfectly with Danny Lane donating the bricks, with Baker King seeing it in the paper to ask if they could use it for the Eagle Scout project,” Spivey said. “All of the people that donated pine straw, plants, gravel, sand and their time –– it’s humbling, but it’s the perfect fit for this museum.”

The bricks no longer line Water Avenue, but people can still walk the old streets of Selma. The bricks are estimated to be from the early 1900s. They were made by Wilpicoba Block, a company from Ragland.

“It’s something that you can be proud of that has such rich history. It’s like a win-win all the way around,” Spivey said. “Every time I show it, I’m going to be glad. Everything about it is just fantastic.”