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Industrial center of city now site of city’s Frontier Shopping Center

April 8, 2013
Marietta Times
Marietta was built one brick at a time.

And most of those bricks came from the Cisler Brick Works, which in the late 1800s was one of the largest industries in the city employing hundreds of people.

The brick works are just a memory now. But the Cisler Brick Works still lives all throughout Marietta. The bricks are in buildings, streets and homes. The bricks are quite literally the foundation of Marietta.

The brick works, which is located on what is now Frontier Shopping Center, was once an industrial center for the city. It was located within eyesight of the Marietta Chair Factory, which was undisputedly the largest industry in the city.

It was first-generation German-American Thomas Cisler who opened the original brick works in 1856 at the site. Still visible today is the towering Cisler home built to overlook the brick works, which is located on top of the hill at the Cisler Terrace Park.

Making bricks was not a clean operation. It took raw materials and a foundry process that belched smoke and steam. But in those days, bricks represented progress, and bricks were in high demand.

It was bricks that would turn a muddy street into a gleaming paved highway. It was bricks that would turn a flimsy wood-frame house into a substantial home. It was bricks that would turn downtown Marietta into a prosperous city.

The brick works was later named Cisler and Sons after Thomas sons joined the business. The family is credited with pioneering the use of shale in brick production, which eliminated calcium from the production.

Known as Cisler Pavers, the bricks were used to build the Marietta Post Office, the Marietta Chair Factory, several of the original Marietta College buildings and the new Marietta High School.

A 1996 column written by the late Carl Clovis for the Washington County Review reported that the Cisler Brick Works in its heyday produced 25,000 bricks per day. It was actually the largest of four different brick works in Marietta, which in total produced about 75,000 bricks every day.

Brick producers provided hundreds of jobs to Mariettans of the 1800s, and it provided the basis for the industrial might that had transformed the community. But as with all industries when new materials are developed, the old industries die out.

By 1903, a tornado destroyed much of the Cisler Brick Works, and as the need for bricks was reduced when steel and other materials were developed, the market for them decreased.



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