Today@Sam Article

Brick-Out Session at SHSU

Oct. 15, 2020
SHSU Media Contact: Emily Binetti


The Sam Houston State University Natural History Collections will explore the building blocks of history with Becky and Larry Meacham, top experts in the field of Texas-made bricks. The two are currently authoring a book on the topic. The public is invited and many notable bricks from the center’s collection will be on display.

A kind of “Antiques Road Show” meets “This Old House” experience, Will Godwin, collection curator, says guests are encouraged to B.Y.O.B. (bring your own brick) for examination.

“If you have a mysterious brick with a stamp or other marking, the Meachams can tell you about it,” Godwin said. “If it’s not in their records, then chances are good that it is a new discovery that should be included in their upcoming book.”

Before railroads spread across Texas, every town had a local brick plant. Most of these closed when mechanization and transportation advanced. In many cases, bricks remain as the only evidence of important stages in the development of Texas.

According to Godwin, bricks are of great use in historical archaeology. SHSU has inherited part of the brick reference collection from the Texas General Land Office and other agencies that took samples from historical structures around the state. He says it is not uncommon for people to have personal links to bricks. For example, his own family roots are connected.

“Two of my cousins, both gone now, told stories about visiting our grandfather’s brick kiln as children. His name was Franklin Crone and his bricks are stamped with a letter "C". There is no official record of this brick,” Godwin said. “If we could locate just one then we could document my family’s small contribution to building the state. There are lots of loose ends like this that need to be documented before the Meacham’s book is published."

The guest visit will take place from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Oct. 31 at the Sam Houston Natural Science & Art Research Center at 710 University Ave. in Huntsville. Weather permitting, they will set-up outside ready to look at any bricks guests bring. Facemasks and social distancing are required.

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