• The History Speaks for Itself – Historic Structures Built Out of Concrete

    July 2, 2020 | Blog Concrete
  • You may think that concrete is just something that a Springfield, Illinois concrete contractor uses to make modern floors, stairs, and commercial or industrial buildings. But the history of concrete is intertwined with the history of the civilized world.

    Concrete has long been used to create some of the world’s most memorable buildings and other historic structures. Even before reinforced concrete revolutionized the construction of massive buildings, concrete was being used to create epic historic structures.

    Roman architecture embraced the durability and strength of concrete very early on. And, thankfully so. One of the reasons that these ancient structures have lasted as long as they have is because they were made of concrete.

    roman parthenon made of concreteThe Roman Pantheon (118 – 128 A.D.)

    This classic piece of history is truly a treasure. The Pantheon in Rome is the biggest unreinforced dome of concrete in the world. Almost 2,000 years after it was built, this historic structure stands as the most well-preserved piece of ancient Roman architecture.

    The Pantheon is constructed of 4,535 metric tons of concrete. When you think about how the Romans erected this massive structure without any modern machinery, like cranes, it boggles the mind.

    Originally thought to have been built by Marcus Agrippa as a temple for the gods, the Roman Pantheon has remained in use throughout the centuries. Since the 7th century A.D., it has been used as a church. Mass, along with weddings and Catholic holidays, is still celebrated there today.

    roman colosseum showing the history of concreteThe Roman Colosseum (72 – 80 A.D.)

    The largest amphitheater in the ancient Roman world, this great work of concrete was made to hold 50,000 people. Completed during the reign of Titus, the Colosseum measures around 620 by 514 feet.

    Located in the center of the city, it was truly a gathering place for all aspects of ancient Roman society. From the lowest pleb to the highest members of the city, the Colosseum attracted everyone.

    illustration of the eddystone lighthouse guiding the path of a ship out at seaEddystone Lighthouse (1759)

    Designed by English engineer John Smeaton, the Eddystone Lighthouse is located 14 miles off Plymouth, England. It was needed to help ships navigate the dangerous Eddystone Rocks.

    Originally, in 1698, the lighthouse was made of wood. It was swept away by a storm, along with its designer, Henry Winstanley.

    Smeaton, however, experimented with cement mortars. He found out that the mortars could set underwater, making concrete the perfect building material for lighthouses.

    panama canal using concrete services in the pastThe Panama Canal (1914)

    Construction was completed on this 82-km U.S.-made waterway. Beginning in 1904, this historic structure revolutionized maritime trade in the region.

    The Panama Canal cuts across the narrow Isthmus of Panama, connecting the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans. This drastically reduced the time it took to get from one to the other, making it a popular trade route.

    historic structure of the brazilian statue of Christ the RedeemerThe Brazilian Statue of Christ the Redeemer (1929)

    This modern wonder of the world stands 30.1 m tall without a pedestal and weighs an impressive 635 tons. It is made from concrete and soapstone and was the largest statue of Jesus Christ when it was constructed.

    concrete structure hoover dam overlooking the colorado riverHoover Dam (1936)

    Built during the Great Depression, this American treasure is located in the Black Canyon of the Colorado River. It was created to form Lake Mead as a source of water for desert residents.

    Weighing 6,600,000 tons, this is one of the nation’s iconic historical structures. And, with the durability of concrete on its side, the Hoover Dam will hopefully remain one for centuries to come.

    Our world is filled with glorious structures made from concrete. Throughout history, it has a proven durability that withstands centuries of use.

    The next time you think about concrete contractors, give them a little credit. They may just be working on the construction of the future world’s great historical structures.