I have 8 salvaged bricks with paw prints embedded into them recently purchased that came from various demolitions in St Louis Mo!
Each one of these has a story but we’ll not know what it is.
One brick has a fawn deer hoof print and one has what appears to be a kitten’s prints, all were pressed into the moist clay before the clay dried and firmed up.
A 9th brick has 3 prints in it;
A 10th one that happened to come from St Louis too but in 2014;
This one is the best, deepest impression, I found this one myself in 1977 at 127 Pitt St NYC when it was being demolished, it was laying in the pile of bricks dropped down inside the building from the 7th floor that had been taken down, something about this brick caught my eye in the pile because it was different, I picked it up and was amazed!
I was sure I’d never find another like it, that maybe the brick yard workers deliberately impressed a little dogs’ paw in the clay as a “time capsule” or joke! It was some 37 years later that I found 3 other different bricks with paw prints for sale. Then just recently I found someone who had over 100 that demolition crews had brought into her store over time as they found them when cleaning bricks to resell, they could get more for the paw print bricks. It is still very rare and unlikely any one building would ever have more than a couple or three of them- a lot had to be right for this to happen!
The clay bricks had to be pliable and laid out in an easy access location where animals could even gain access to them at all, that means no fences or high storage, and the clay would only have been pliable a few hours at most once formed. They likely were formed and laid on the ground maybe in trays or on screens in the sun to dry.
127 and 129 Pitt st NYC, winter 1977
Built ca 1905
Photo from: The Gargoyler of Greenwich Village