Why is Geneva Street cobbled?

A neighborhood cat crosses Geneva Street's cobbled surface. Jim Craven 3/12/2007

Resembling a cobblestone street, Geneva Street adds ambience to Medford's eastside historic district.

Paved in 1910, Geneva led to the homes of some of Medford's elite, including city officials, bankers and merchants.

But the design was meant for functionality rather than fashion.

The deep scores in the street gave delivery horses more traction and slowed speedsters in Model-T cars.

The "cobbles" are not stones but molded concrete crafted to resemble mortared bricks. A pattern giving the appearance of bricks was impressed onto the surface while it was still wet.

At one time, Reddy Avenue and Genessee Street wore the same design but were later paved over.

Some of the houses on Geneva are now part of the National Register of Historic Places.

Thirty-six years ago, city officials planned to pave over the design on Geneva. A group of residents, led by Everett Cade, persuaded them to preserve the design, which they saw as part of the neighborhood's historic character.

Owners of houses on the historic register receive tax benefits in exchange for opening their homes to the public once a year.

The tours are usually held in the fall.


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