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Smile, You're in Athens: Bricks stay with students through thick and thin

That low hum while driving, that painful jolt on your butt while biking, that awkward laugh when you trip in public — all brought to you by a simple brick. Bricks are more than just building blocks; they are what Athens is made of.

Adding to Ohio University’s antiquated academic charm, the millions of bricks adorning this town have been around the block for more than 100 years!

Production of the historic Athens Block began in the early 1890s and ended in 1917. Those little bricks are probably older than your grandpa. It is crazy to think of all those who have walked the worn brick paths of College Green.

Young lads marching off to fight in World War I, suffragettes rallying for the women’s vote and trippy-hippie free spirits rioting against the Vietnam War have all walked the route you take to class every day.

Did I mention bricks are organic? Made from the clay of Athens County, they built this school, this town and our Athenian way of life.

If you thought Athens Blocks are only found in Athens, think again! The majority of the bricks were shipped to other countries during their short time of production.

On a sunny day in Athens, the bricks are truly beautiful, making everything glow a warm crimson hue. Even on rainy days, the uneven bricks shine beneath stoplights and create bottomless pools that splash curbside students (especially outside Alden).

If it weren’t for those pot-holey-puddle-making bricks, you wouldn’t need those cute rain boots!

Bricks also have a magic ability to make law-abiding students into criminals. I am sure many of you reading this have stealthily snatched a loose brick from The Ridges, or even dared to take a block from Court Street.

It is much harder to flee the scene running while holding a brick — not that I have any experience in this kind of brick-pilfering (cough, cough). Despite the $1,000 fine if caught in the act, it is an OU student’s rite of passage to steal an Athens Block.

Don’t we all love that obvious and gaping hole in the path of that poor, unsuspecting, high-heeled tipsy girl? It is not nice to laugh when people take a tumble, but stolen bricks plus weekend activities equals hilarity.

So thank you, bricks, for letting us walk all over you. May you continue to support feet and scholarly ambitions, bad late-night decisions and all the giggles in between for generations to come. Thank you for quietly being an unchanging backdrop to our glory years.

You really are a chip off the ol’ Athens Block. Bricks will always be a cherished memento of our crazy college days (or daze) that will remain on our desks for years to come.

So if you are ever feeling down, go ahead and look down, see those red and brown babies and remember there is another reason to smile — you’re in Athens!

Bricks of Athens: putting the trip in your step since 1893.

Anna Moore is a junior studying magazine journalism and fine arts and is a columnist for The Post. Email her about your brick trips at

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