Wednesday, January 25, 2006

On The Proper Use Of High Temperature Kilns

" ... Nineteenth-century Washington had nearly 100 [beehive] brick kilns. Most of them were sited along the Anacostia, in order to exploit the fine clay that was dug from the river's bed and banks. These domed ones were built, circa 1909, by the United Brick Corp., which, in the 1920s, produced 140,000 bricks a day. They were fired -- at 1,900 degrees -- for three or four days. Then they took as long to cool. There used to be 12 kilns on the New York Avenue site. These two survive.... The yard, which made its last brick in 1972, is not open to the public. That's because the National Arboretum, which acquired the land 29 years ago, intending to landscape it, has yet to begin. The beehive kilns, however, may be viewed from afar."

Paul Richard "FROM THE COLLECTION : Washington's Prize Possessions" Washington Post January 22, 2006.


Why, in heaven's name, would anyone want to "landscape" this historical, industrial site; perfect as it is?

Washington, D.C.'s New York Avenue brick kilns, built ca. 1909. "Arresting structures wholly utilitarian and whose beauty is incidental."

Click to enlarge image.

Photo credit: Stefanye C. Washington -- U.S. National Arboretum via


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