The Use of Asphalt Block for Laying Gutters

Date Published: 
September, 1905
Original Author: 
James C. Parkinson
Greenmount Cemetery, Baltimore, Maryland
Original Publication: 
AACS Proceedings of the 19th Annual Convention

The matter of gutters and their construction and durability is one of importance in our work and should receive careful attention.

There are quite a number of methods and materials used, but all have more or less drawbacks, such as weeds growing, action of frost, washouts, etc. These are the things that give to those in cemetery and park work much concern and to get a material that overcomes these difficulties, let us stop and think a moment.

We will turn to the asphalt block and see how it serves the purpose and requirements of our work.

The writer has used quite a number of them in the last three years and can say their use is not one of experiment, but a fact. There has been much discussion on the action of water decaying or rotten asphalt where it lays under water. This may prove to be the case, but with the block, we need have no fear of this. When we speak of an asphalt block we allude to a mass of refined asphalt, stone dust, crude oil and trap rock or commonly known as nxxxer head stone, crushed to about the size of a pea, heated and molded under a pressure of about 180 tons to the square inch into a block twelve inches long, five inches wide and two and a half inches thick, weighing twelve pounds, this makes a black block as the sample here. Then under the same manner of manufacture is a lime stone block, which makes a very ornamental gutter, as the longer it remains down, the whiter it gets. The sample here before you is taken from a walk on a very steep incline where it has been for sixteen years, the photograph here before you shows the walk.

The question of how you would lay them no doubt arises in the mind of many, any ordinary man can lay them, all that is necessary is the grade to be set, a two or three inch cushion of sand be spread and the laying becomes a simple matter. As to the cost, they should not cost over $1.25 per square yard; should it become necessary to lay them on a concrete bed, of say six inches with two inch cushion of sand, the cost should not exceed $1.70 per square yard of this size; it takes 20½ blocks to a square yard; let us then turn back a moment to the grade of block the writer has used. I have found that the second grade of block or those that would not pass on a city street, to answer as well as the number one, in fact, all I have used have been seconds and thirds, after laying and ramming well, a wash of liquid cement poured over will close the open joints and stay there. Do weeds and grass get into them? No, not one blade has there had to be removed, as to the action of frost on them, our experience has shown no effect either in cracking or blowing them out of place.
From the publication:
AACS - Proceedings of the 19th Annual Convention
Held at Washington, DC
September 19, 20, 21 and 22, 1905