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Mystery Tour

Patterns in brick are the key to this mystery

Congrats to reader Rob Gerhart who solved the mystery from last week, the photo was snapped above the red, welcoming door at  

Our tour this week will remain in Lansdale and is located on a well-used thoroughfare and intersection in the borough.  No doubt you have had reason to pause here since a traffic signal watches over this area of high traffic volume.

The brick work in the photos appears on a structure built in the early 1920s, and it was carefully constructed by a skilled bricklayer — evident by the meticulous usage of neatly arranged patterns without any apparent flaws in the design.   The decorative features of the brick are what sets this building apart and make it unique. 

Patterns in brick are commonly referred to as bond, and the style using contrasting color is thought to have originated in 15th Century France.  The mystery building utilizes many different forms of bond, with the center portion having been constructed in a basket weave pattern. 

Another pattern that is easily identifiable is English bond.  This particular bond is comprised of two alternating courses of stretchers— bricks laid on their long narrow side, and headers — bricks laid with the short end exposed.  

A variation of alternating headers and stretchers are also evident on the structure, and these are defined as Flemish Bond — considered to be the most decorative bond. Dutch bond is another name given to the embellishment. 

Upon closer inspection, there are several other design forms that the accomplished bricklayer incorporated into this structure — a sure sign that this highly specialized work was performed for a wealthier client.

If you think you know the location of this week’s Mystery Tour, let us know.  The answer will be revealed in next week’s column.

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