Sidewalk contractor stamps
This site is dedicated to the documentation, cataloging, and publication of those symbols of labor known as contractor stamps. Most were placed from the early 1900s through the late 1970s, but few contractors now use them because of fear of litigation and a changing attitude toward craftwork. Despite being cast in a durable medium, these marks are disappearing from the urban landscape at a remarkable rate as curb cuts, buried utilities repair, and general gentrification take their toll.

Much can be learned from these artifacts, including construction dates and patterns of urban development. But perhaps most importantly, these are symbolic of the pride that tradesmen and women displayed in building our country.

This is a work in progress. Current printer-friendly catalog may be downloaded here. For more information on the documentation and cataloging process of these images as well as community efforts to preserve them see attached page. Also feel free to look at a related article on the invisibility of union labels in bibliographic cataloging.
An excellent effort by Andrew Alden to document Oakland stamps can be seen here.
Thanks to Ken Duffy and Robert Rush for support and feedback.

Please address comments and suggestions to Lincoln Cushing.
Article in
Berkeley Daily Planet 6/14/2005

All photos © Lincoln Cushing

Click middle image below to enter the archive or here for an overview presentation

Esterly Construction Company, 1917 Oregon St., Berkeley, 1907

Gardner E. Marshall, 1210 Bonita St, Berkeley * Esterly Construction Co, 1917 Oregon St., Berkeley, 1907 * W.E. Ensor, 1922, 1321 Bonita St., Berkeley

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This site is dedicated to two great men-
Robert Heizer (1915—1979), maternal uncle and archaeologist
Robert Heifetz (1933—2001), peace activist and labor scholar

other related labor culture sites-

Labor Culture Research Portal, UC Berkeley
Database of American Labor Graphics project

page last revised 9/2/2010