Following the history of the yellow-brick road

This seems quite unlikely however, given that Poe expired in 1849, long before the road would have been paved. The theory was probably given credence due to Poe having supposedly done work on "The Raven" while at Yaddo Mansion in Saratoga Springs.

Another theory altogether is that the inspiration was the other way around. Baum's book was published in 1900 and appeared on the stage a few years thereafter, so yellow bricked roads may have been in vogue. (The movie was released in 1939, by the way.)

But perhaps the most likely explanation for the road's color has no connection to the land of Oz. Yellow paving bricks were not unique to Normansville. In the 19th century, red and yellow bricks were commonly used in early paved road construction, so it's entirely possible Baum was inspired by a road in another place or simply wished to present something familiar to his readers.

In the novel, Baum also does not make much fuss over the color of the road; the film dubbed it the familiar "Yellow-Brick Road."

Origin notwithstanding, the purpose of the yellow pavers was clearly to improve the condition of the road, and even after the installation of the higher Delaware Avenue bridge in 1928 it remained a viable way to cross the Normanskill until the old bridge was closed.

"Every time that we came home from Albany we had to take the yellow-brick road," said former town historian Joe Allgaier. "The kids liked to go down the yellow-brick road."

Allgaier was one person who served on the Normansville Yellow Brick Road Enhancement Committee that improved the walkway to the old bridge, adding plants, lamposts and two rows of pressed concrete designed to look like yellow bricks. The Town of Bethlehem maintains the area now.

The committee had high hopes of putting a garden on the bridge itself, said coordinator Virginia Acquario, but as the bridge is closed liability issues made that unfeasible.

"Given our difficult times and economic constraints, we never really could go forward," she said. "We never did get very far with the bridge ... but after we cleaned up our side of the bridge the City of Albany did the same."

Still, Acquario said, there are hopes of getting the project back on track, so the yellow-brick road can be an even more enjoyable place to take a stroll.

If you don't want to track down the remnants of the road in Normansville, there's a strip of the original yellow bricks laid at the Four Corners in Delmar.""

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