Remembering our history: fastest brick layer in Nebraska

Black History Month
Published: Feb. 15, 2021 at 11:18 PM CST
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NORTH PLATTE, Neb. (KNOP) -Downtown North Platte is sharing her history. Arthur Hurd, an African American Nebraska native helped lay the original bricks downtown. And, he was known as the “fastest bricklayer” in the entire state, according to newspaper stories from the early last century.

Curator Director at Lincoln County Historical Museum Jim Griffin said, “He basically could lay those bricks faster than anybody else, so he could go across our street in like three in half minutes it was just quick.”

Griffin added that Hurd could lay four rows of brick at a time and that there were men in his crew whose jobs were to pass bricks to him. Griffin explained Hurd’s ability to quickly lay bricks attracted the attention of many locals as they passed through the area.

Hurd made a name for himself in North Platte and Nebraska and his legacy will live on in the bricks. He serves as an example of how all history is connected, and the importance of sharing stories for future generations.

“When you look into whether it’s Black history or Japanese history, you are going to find things that are negative but you are also going to find things that are positive,” said Griffin.” The only way we are going to be able to grow is to realize that things happened that should not have. Now, we have to acknowledge that and grow.”

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