Historic Star Route and Palouse Street Brick Road
Once known as the Star Route, the red brick portions of Maple Street and Palouse Streets are the remains of an old postal route. In the early 1910s, the Pullman Chamber of Commerce voted to pave the roads leading to the Washington State campus. Brick was chosen on streets with a steeper incline to give horses more traction. The remaining brick road is now listed on the National Register of Historic Places.
Backstory and Context
In the early twentieth century, Pullman was a city largely of dirt roads and unpaved streets. The Chamber of Commerce wanted to improve the city’s streets, especially those leading to the Washington State campus, and a series of improvements began in 1911.
Some of the streets near the campus were paved with macadam, but the parts with a steeper incline were paved with brick to give horses more traction. Today, the only remaining parts of the brick road can be found at the corner of Palouse and Maple Streets. The project was completed in 1913.
According to research done by Washington State architecture students, the former Star Route has survived for more than a century and is still drivable today because of the kind of brick that was used. When the road was paved in the 1910s, vitrified brick, which is resistant to weather and chemical corrosion, was chosen. The city attempted to pave over the brick in the 1960s, and though the asphalt had to be removed because of wear and tear, the bricks are still in good shape.The Historic Star Route is listed on the National Register of Historic Places