Cobblestone
Overview
 
Cobblestones are stone
Rock (geology)
In geology, rock or stone is a naturally occurring solid aggregate of minerals and/or mineraloids.The Earth's outer solid layer, the lithosphere, is made of rock. In general rocks are of three types, namely, igneous, sedimentary, and metamorphic...

s that were frequently used in the pavement of early street
Street
A street is a paved public thoroughfare in a built environment. It is a public parcel of land adjoining buildings in an urban context, on which people may freely assemble, interact, and move about. A street can be as simple as a level patch of dirt, but is more often paved with a hard, durable...

s. "Cobblestone" is derived from the very old English word "cob", which had a wide range of meanings, one of which was "rounded lump" with overtones of large size. "Cobble", which appeared in the 15th century, simply added the diminutive suffix "le" to "cob", and meant a small stone rounded by the flow of water; essentially, a large pebble
Pebble
A pebble is a clast of rock with a particle size of 4 to 64 millimetres based on the Krumbein phi scale of sedimentology. Pebbles are generally considered to be larger than granules and smaller than cobbles . A rock made predominantly of pebbles is termed a conglomerate...

.
Encyclopedia
Cobblestones are stone
Rock (geology)
In geology, rock or stone is a naturally occurring solid aggregate of minerals and/or mineraloids.The Earth's outer solid layer, the lithosphere, is made of rock. In general rocks are of three types, namely, igneous, sedimentary, and metamorphic...

s that were frequently used in the pavement of early street
Street
A street is a paved public thoroughfare in a built environment. It is a public parcel of land adjoining buildings in an urban context, on which people may freely assemble, interact, and move about. A street can be as simple as a level patch of dirt, but is more often paved with a hard, durable...

s. "Cobblestone" is derived from the very old English word "cob", which had a wide range of meanings, one of which was "rounded lump" with overtones of large size. "Cobble", which appeared in the 15th century, simply added the diminutive suffix "le" to "cob", and meant a small stone rounded by the flow of water; essentially, a large pebble
Pebble
A pebble is a clast of rock with a particle size of 4 to 64 millimetres based on the Krumbein phi scale of sedimentology. Pebbles are generally considered to be larger than granules and smaller than cobbles . A rock made predominantly of pebbles is termed a conglomerate...

. It was these smooth "cobbles", gathered from stream beds, that paved the first "cobblestone" streets.

Note that cobble is a generic geological term
Particle size (grain size)
Particle size, also called grain size, refers to the diameter of individual grains of sediment, or the lithified particles in clastic rocks. The term may also be applied to other granular materials. This is different from the crystallite size, which is the size of a single crystal inside the...

 for any stone having dimensions between 2.5–10 inches. A cobbled area is known as a "causey", "cassay" or "cassie" in Scots
Scots language
Scots is the Germanic language variety spoken in Lowland Scotland and parts of Ulster . It is sometimes called Lowland Scots to distinguish it from Scottish Gaelic, the Celtic language variety spoken in most of the western Highlands and in the Hebrides.Since there are no universally accepted...

 (probably from causeway).

Use in roading

Cobblestones are typically either set in sand or similar material, or are bound together with mortar
Mortar (masonry)
Mortar is a workable paste used to bind construction blocks together and fill the gaps between them. The blocks may be stone, brick, cinder blocks, etc. Mortar becomes hard when it sets, resulting in a rigid aggregate structure. Modern mortars are typically made from a mixture of sand, a binder...

. Paving with cobblestones allows a road to be heavily used all year long. It prevents the build-up of ruts often found in dirt road
Dirt road
Dirt road is a common term for an unpaved road made from the native material of the land surface through which it passes, known to highway engineers as subgrade material. Dirt roads are suitable for vehicles; a narrower path for pedestrians, animals, and possibly small vehicles would be called a...

s. It has the additional advantage of not getting muddy in wet weather or dusty in dry weather. The fact that carriage
Carriage
A carriage is a wheeled vehicle for people, usually horse-drawn; litters and sedan chairs are excluded, since they are wheelless vehicles. The carriage is especially designed for private passenger use and for comfort or elegance, though some are also used to transport goods. It may be light,...

 wheel
Wheel
A wheel is a device that allows heavy objects to be moved easily through rotating on an axle through its center, facilitating movement or transportation while supporting a load, or performing labor in machines. Common examples found in transport applications. A wheel, together with an axle,...

s, horse
Horse
The horse is one of two extant subspecies of Equus ferus, or the wild horse. It is a single-hooved mammal belonging to the taxonomic family Equidae. The horse has evolved over the past 45 to 55 million years from a small multi-toed creature into the large, single-toed animal of today...

 hooves and even modern automobiles make a lot of noise when rolling over cobblestone paving might be thought a disadvantage, but it has the advantage of warning pedestrians of their approach. In England, the custom was to strew the cobbles outside the house of a sick or dying person with straw to dampen the sound.

Cobblestones set in sand have the environmental advantage of being permeable paving
Permeable paving
Permeable paving is a range of materials and techniques for paving roads, cycle-paths, parking lots and sidewalks that allow the movement of water and air around the paving material. Although some porous paving materials appear nearly indistinguishable from nonporous materials, their environmental...

, and of flexing rather than cracking with movements in the ground.

Use today

Cobblestones were largely replaced by quarried granite setts
Sett (paving)
A sett, usually the plural setts and in some places called a Belgian block, often incorrectly called "cobblestone", is a broadly rectangular quarried stone used originally for paving roads, today a decorative stone paving used in landscape architecture...

 in the nineteenth century. Cobblestone is often wrongly used to describe such treatment. Setts were relatively even and roughly rectangular stones that were laid in regular patterns. They gave a smoother ride for carts than cobbles, although in heavily used sections, such as in yards and the like, the usual practice was to replace the setts by parallel granite slabs set apart by the standard axle length of the time.

Cobblestoned and setted streets gradually gave way to macadam
Macadam
Macadam is a type of road construction pioneered by the Scotsman John Loudon McAdam in around 1820. The method simplified what had been considered state-of-the-art at that point...

 roads, and later to tarmac
Tarmac
Tarmac is a type of road surface. Tarmac refers to a material patented by Edgar Purnell Hooley in 1901...

, and finally to asphalt
Asphalt
Asphalt or , also known as bitumen, is a sticky, black and highly viscous liquid or semi-solid that is present in most crude petroleums and in some natural deposits, it is a substance classed as a pitch...

 at the beginning of the 20th century. However, cobble­stones are often retained in historic areas, even for streets with modern vehicular traffic. Many older villages and cities in Europe
Europe
Europe is, by convention, one of the world's seven continents. Comprising the westernmost peninsula of Eurasia, Europe is generally 'divided' from Asia to its east by the watershed divides of the Ural and Caucasus Mountains, the Ural River, the Caspian and Black Seas, and the waterways connecting...

 are still paved with cobblestones. In recent decades, cobblestones have become a popular material for paving newly pedestrian
Pedestrian
A pedestrian is a person traveling on foot, whether walking or running. In some communities, those traveling using roller skates or skateboards are also considered to be pedestrians. In modern times, the term mostly refers to someone walking on a road or footpath, but this was not the case...

ised streets in Europe. In this case, the noisy nature of the surface is an advantage as pedestrians can hear approaching vehicles. The visual cues of the cobblestones also clarify that the area is more than just a normal street. The use of cobblestones/setts is also considered to be a more "upmarket" roadway solution, having been described as "unique and artistic" compared to the normal asphalt road environment.

In older U.S. cities such as Boston
Boston
Boston is the capital of and largest city in Massachusetts, and is one of the oldest cities in the United States. The largest city in New England, Boston is regarded as the unofficial "Capital of New England" for its economic and cultural impact on the entire New England region. The city proper had...

, Pittsburgh, New York City
New York City
New York is the most populous city in the United States and the center of the New York Metropolitan Area, one of the most populous metropolitan areas in the world. New York exerts a significant impact upon global commerce, finance, media, art, fashion, research, technology, education, and...

, Chicago
Chicago
Chicago is the largest city in the US state of Illinois. With nearly 2.7 million residents, it is the most populous city in the Midwestern United States and the third most populous in the US, after New York City and Los Angeles...

, San Francisco, Portland
Portland, Maine
Portland is the largest city in Maine and is the county seat of Cumberland County. The 2010 city population was 66,194, growing 3 percent since the census of 2000...

, Baltimore
Baltimore
Baltimore is the largest independent city in the United States and the largest city and cultural center of the US state of Maryland. The city is located in central Maryland along the tidal portion of the Patapsco River, an arm of the Chesapeake Bay. Baltimore is sometimes referred to as Baltimore...

, and Philadelphia, many of the older streets are paved in cobblestones and setts (mostly setts); however, many such streets have been paved over with asphalt, which can crack and erode away due to heavy traffic, thus revealing the original stone pavement.
In some places such as Saskatoon, Saskatchewan, Canada
Canada
Canada is a North American country consisting of ten provinces and three territories. Located in the northern part of the continent, it extends from the Atlantic Ocean in the east to the Pacific Ocean in the west, and northward into the Arctic Ocean...

, as late as the 1990s some busy intersections still showed cobblestones through worn down sections of pavement. Many cities in Latin America, such as Buenos Aires
Buenos Aires
Buenos Aires is the capital and largest city of Argentina, and the second-largest metropolitan area in South America, after São Paulo. It is located on the western shore of the estuary of the Río de la Plata, on the southeastern coast of the South American continent...

, Argentina
Argentina
Argentina , officially the Argentine Republic , is the second largest country in South America by land area, after Brazil. It is constituted as a federation of 23 provinces and an autonomous city, Buenos Aires...

; Zacatecas
Zacatecas, Zacatecas
Zacatecas is a city and municipality in Mexico and the capital of the state of Zacatecas. It is located in the north central part of the country. The city had its start as a Spanish mining camp in the mid 16th century. Prior to this, the area's rich deposits in silver and other minerals were known...

 and Guanajuato
Guanajuato, Guanajuato
Guanajuato is a city and municipality in central Mexico and the capital of the state of the same name. It is located in a narrow valley, which makes the streets of the city narrow and winding. Most are alleys that cars cannot pass through, and some are long sets of stairs up the mountainsides....

, in Mexico
Mexico
The United Mexican States , commonly known as Mexico , is a federal constitutional republic in North America. It is bordered on the north by the United States; on the south and west by the Pacific Ocean; on the southeast by Guatemala, Belize, and the Caribbean Sea; and on the east by the Gulf of...

; Old San Juan, Puerto Rico
Puerto Rico
Puerto Rico , officially the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico , is an unincorporated territory of the United States, located in the northeastern Caribbean, east of the Dominican Republic and west of both the United States Virgin Islands and the British Virgin Islands.Puerto Rico comprises an...

 and Montevideo
Montevideo
Montevideo is the largest city, the capital, and the chief port of Uruguay. The settlement was established in 1726 by Bruno Mauricio de Zabala, as a strategic move amidst a Spanish-Portuguese dispute over the platine region, and as a counter to the Portuguese colony at Colonia del Sacramento...

, Uruguay
Uruguay
Uruguay ,officially the Oriental Republic of Uruguay,sometimes the Eastern Republic of Uruguay; ) is a country in the southeastern part of South America. It is home to some 3.5 million people, of whom 1.8 million live in the capital Montevideo and its metropolitan area...

, richly influenced by many European architectural features, are well known for their many cobblestone streets, which are still operational and in good condition. They are still maintained and repaired the old fashion way, by placing and arranging granite stones by hand.

Cobblestone roads are a decisive element in some of the biggest professional cycling races. The Tour of Flanders
Tour of Flanders
The Tour of Flanders is a Flanders Classics road cycling race held in Belgium every spring, a week before the Paris–Roubaix road race. It is part of the UCI World Tour and one of the so-called monuments of the European professional calendar. It is the most important cycling race in Flanders...

 and Paris–Roubaix are especially well known for their many long cobblestone sections.

In the Czech Republic
Czech Republic
The Czech Republic is a landlocked country in Central Europe. The country is bordered by Poland to the northeast, Slovakia to the east, Austria to the south, and Germany to the west and northwest....

, there are old cobblestone paths with colored marble
Marble
Marble is a metamorphic rock composed of recrystallized carbonate minerals, most commonly calcite or dolomite.Geologists use the term "marble" to refer to metamorphosed limestone; however stonemasons use the term more broadly to encompass unmetamorphosed limestone.Marble is commonly used for...

s and limestone
Limestone
Limestone is a sedimentary rock composed largely of the minerals calcite and aragonite, which are different crystal forms of calcium carbonate . Many limestones are composed from skeletal fragments of marine organisms such as coral or foraminifera....

s. The design with three colors (red/limestone, black/limestone, white/marble) has a long tradition in Bohemia
Bohemia
Bohemia is a historical region in central Europe, occupying the western two-thirds of the traditional Czech Lands. It is located in the contemporary Czech Republic with its capital in Prague...

. The cubes of the old ways are handmade.

Use in architecture

In the Finger Lakes
Finger Lakes
The Finger Lakes are a pattern of lakes in the west-central section of Upstate New York in the United States. They are a popular tourist destination. The lakes are long and thin , each oriented roughly on a north-south axis. The two longest, Cayuga Lake and Seneca Lake, are among the deepest in...

 Region of New York State, the retreat of the glaciers during the last ice age left numerous small, rounded cobblestones available for building. Pre-Civil War architecture in the region made heavy use of cobblestones for walls. Today, the fewer than 600 remaining cobblestone buildings are prized as historic locations, most of them private homes. They are clustered south of Lake Ontario, between Buffalo and Syracuse. There is also a cluster of cobblestone buildings in the Town of Paris
Paris, Ontario
Paris, Ontario is a community on the Grand River in Ontario, Canada. The town was established in 1850. In 1999, its town government was amalgamated into that of the County of Brant, Ontario, thus ending about 149 years as a separate incorporated municipality.-History:The town was first settled in...

, Ontario
Ontario
Ontario is a province of Canada, located in east-central Canada. It is Canada's most populous province and second largest in total area. It is home to the nation's most populous city, Toronto, and the nation's capital, Ottawa....

. In addition to homes, cobblestones were used to build barns, stagecoach taverns, smokehouses, stores, churches, schools, factories, and cemetery markers. The history of building with cobblestones and 17 driving tours to see the remaining structures are found in "Cobblestone Quest - Road Tours of New York's Historic Buildings".

The only public cobblestone building is the Alexander Classical School
Alexander Classical School
The former Alexander Classical School, today Alexander Town Hall, is located on Buffalo Street in Alexander, New York, United States. It is a three-story cobblestone building erected in the 1830s....

, located in Alexander, NY.

Cultural References

Cobblestone is referenced in the chorus of the song "Cold as Cobblestone" by Tundra Archive.

In The Simpsons
The Simpsons
The Simpsons is an American animated sitcom created by Matt Groening for the Fox Broadcasting Company. The series is a satirical parody of a middle class American lifestyle epitomized by its family of the same name, which consists of Homer, Marge, Bart, Lisa and Maggie...

, cobblestone is comedically referred to on multiple occasions by Moe as an ingredient in the drinks he serves.

Cobblestone has the item code 4 in the video game Minecraft
Minecraft
Minecraft is a sandbox-building independent video game written in Java originally by Swedish creator Markus "Notch" Persson and now by his company, Mojang, formed from the proceeds of the game. It was released as an alpha on May 17, 2009, with a beta version on December 20, 2010...

, and can be obtained by mining stone.

See also

  • Pavement
    Sidewalk
    A sidewalk, or pavement, footpath, footway, and sometimes platform, is a path along the side of a road. A sidewalk may accommodate moderate changes in grade and is normally separated from the vehicular section by a curb...

  • Calsada
  • Empedrado (disambiguation) (used in Buenos Aires
    Buenos Aires
    Buenos Aires is the capital and largest city of Argentina, and the second-largest metropolitan area in South America, after São Paulo. It is located on the western shore of the estuary of the Río de la Plata, on the southeastern coast of the South American continent...

    , Argentina)
The source of this article is wikipedia, the free encyclopedia.  The text of this article is licensed under the GFDL.
 
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