CHARLESTON, W.Va. (WOWK) — West Virginia is home to many firsts. In fact, the state capitol, Charleston, was the site for the first brick-paved road in the world.
Mordecai Levi, a Charlestonian, is credited with the design of the first brick pavement. Proving his design, he constructed a brick road on Summers Street between Virginia Street and Kanawha Street in 1870 with financial backing from Dr. John Hale, and by 1873, the whole block had been paved.
To prove his claim to fame, Levi’s granddaughter, Nancy Wilson Cassady (Mrs. Robert Cassady), wrote a letter in June 1962 explaining the story to the Centennial Commission of West Virginia, even providing the original patent for the improved design from 1889.
She wrote that Levi’s invention had been officially recognized for many years by various organizations, including the National Research Council, who acknowledged Levi’s contribution as part of the 1933 Chicago Fair.
According to Cassady, much of the information she provided was corroborated in a 1953 article in the Charleston Gazette, a 1939 article from the Charleston Daily Mail and documents from the collection of West Virginia historian Dr. Roy Bird Cook.
Levi and Hale also worked together on a number of different projects throughout the years, including the Hale House and the first state capitol in Charleston, Cassady wrote.