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.
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.