Memories of Chester, Wooden Sidewalks on Main Street

Wooden Sidewalks on Main Street

Wooden Sidewalks on Main Street


In the video above, Herman Rademacher uses this photograph to explain why Chester had wooden sidewalks along Main Street in the 1800s. Landowners developed iron mines along Main Street. When the miners dug to a certain depth, they would hit water. They pumped the water out of the mines, and it would flow onto Main Street. Herman says, “They put the wooden sidewalks down so that people could walk along Main Street without being drowned.”

The image below the video is a print from a glass plate photograph, rather than a postcard from his collection. It shows a dirt Main Street with a wooden sidewalk made from planks laid lengthwise. The sidewalk is atop a berm, and a puddle can be seen at the very front right of the image. To the right of the sidewalk is a wood and wire fence, behind which is a two-story home flanked by tall, leafy trees. Running along the sidewalk are telegraph lines on t-shaped wooden poles.

Video transcription available here: Wooden Sidewalks on Main Street Video Transcription.


All requests to reproduce, publish, quote from, or otherwise use collection materials must be submitted in writing to the Local History Librarian, Chester Public Library, 250 W. Main Street, Chester, NJ 07930.

Exhibit Publication Date: Published in 2015. ©Copyright Chester Public Library