In the 1830s it was very noisy in the bustling city of Philadelphia. Camac Street is a landmark of a time when Philly was testing out new pavement. The clop-clop-clopping of horse hooves on cobble stone was the largest source of noise pollution. Local businessmen and the city government came together with the idea to use wooden blocks to absorb the sound.
The wooden blocks didn’t only absorb the horse hooves sounds. They soaked up moisture from rain, snow, and especially horse urine. The pine and oak wood block streets were extremely stinky and rotted and crumbled easily. By the time automobiles came around they were mostly gone.
The street was kind of smelly. There is a patch that’s been restored.
In the 20th century the area developed into an artist enclave and the street was seen as an oddity. Conservationists took to conserving this charmingly quaint block.
Camac is located between Walnut and Locust and between 12th and 13th Streets. It even had mosaics on some buildings.
The street sat untouched till the 1990s. What you see today was restored to look like when it was first installed except they used machine made weather resistant wood blocks today.