The Norman Transcript

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November 10, 2012

Workshop to focus on saving Norman history one brick at a time

NORMAN — Bricks are one of the oldest known building materials dating back to ancient civilizations.

Ancient Egyptians used sun dried mud bricks, some of which can still be seen at ruins such as Harappa Buhen and Mohenjo-daro, according to brickdirectory.co.uk.

You don’t have to go that far back to see historic bricks, however. The Downtown Norman Historic District has several brick edifaces that help tell the story of Norman’s past. While bricks are one of the most enduring building materials, maintaining and repairing old bricks is vital to preserving that history.

The Norman Historic District Commission is sponsoring a restoration workshop on Nov. 17 and 18 on repairing historic masonry.  This is the 5th hands-on preservation workshop and will be led by nationally recognized historic preservation expert, Bob Yapp.

“Oklahoma has become my second home and I truly love coming back to Norman,” Yapp said. “Norman is one of my favorite places in the country. There’s a great preservation ethic and a great understanding of why preservation is so important to the community from an economic development standpoint.”

Yapp will lead participants in the art and science of repairing deteriorated brick and mortar at two demonstration buildings in historic Downtown Norman.

“We’ll re-point some failing motar joints and talk about how to mix proper motars so that homeowners and property owners can do some basic brick and motar maintenance on their homes.”

Yapp is a preservationist and an educator. He founded the Belvedere School for Historic Preservation Trades and Technology in Hannibal, Mo. in 2008, whe he trains artisans in the preservation trades.

“This year we’re excited to be working on a couple of historic commercial buildings Downtown,” said Neil Robinson, chairman of the Norman Historic District Commission.

 The 100 and 200 blocks of East Main Street in the Downtown District were named to the National Register of Historic Places in 1978. In March, that area was expanded to include 13 additional blocks.

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