Multi-Tasking with Concrete Block c. 1920

Taking advantage of a sloping lot, the builder of a c. 1920 bungalow achieved 3 goals simultaneously with concrete block:

  1.  A garage
  2.  A retaining wall
  3.  A level lot

There is a door at the back of the garage which opens to the adjacent sidewalk.  A set of steps leads to the house above.


Corners extend beyond the top of the wall and anchor fencing.  The corner above the garage door has been rebuilt with smooth-faced block.


A handrail is anchored to the steepest grade.  Further down the street, a neighbor’s yard is also framed with concrete block, but the wall’s mortar joints are aligned with the grade rather than being leveled.



2 Responses to Multi-Tasking with Concrete Block c. 1920

  1. I think what’s most remarkable about this, is that it appears to be still mostly plumb! Too often, these small earth-retaining walls and similar structures are built with little, if any, consideration of the earth pressure or hydrostatic (water) loads on them.

    I see the dry-stacked block walls people build themselves leaning and collapsed quite frequently.

    • This is located in southwestern Nebraska which gets much less precipitation than the eastern part of the state. Built elsewhere, it may not have fared so well. Even so, it’s plumbness is still remarkable!

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