Denton Journal from Denton, Maryland on December 24, 1938 · Page 2
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Denton Journal from Denton, Maryland · Page 2

Denton, Maryland
Issue Date:
Saturday, December 24, 1938
Page 2
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DENTOM JOURNAL Paje 2 1IELVIN £ JOHNSON, Inc., Publishers Saturday Morning. December 24, 1938 THE MICHIGAN ROAD By Albert C. Rose Senior Highway Engineer, Bureau of Public Roads United States Department of Agriculture (Part Tta-ee) Decline, Growth and Transition of the Michigan Road From A Primitive Wagon Road to a Modern Pared Highway Suitable for Motor Vehicles (1841-1938) Had lack of revenue and proper upkeep under county control been the only obstacles impeding the progress of the Michigan Road, it is possible that this pioneer thoroughfare might have retained its supremacy as the main overland connection between the Ohio river and Lake Michigan. There were other unfavorable conditions, however, which forced the road to yield its premier position. To begin with, as settlements sprang up throughout the state, travel began to spread over connecting and parallel routes. Roads leading to and from adjoinnig states also absorbed port of the traffic that otherwise would have been concentrated upon the Michigan Road. After the Erie canal was opened to the public in 1825, the Michigan Road steadily lost ite prestige as the sole immigrant artery for settlers headed for northern Indiana. For the next decade the government funds spent on the improvement of the Chicago turnpike, leading from Detroit, added another handicap to Indiana's pioneer north-and-south road. The Great Lakes became thronged with emigrants travelling in boats of all descriptions. By 1836* the newcomers began to land at Vistula at the mouth of the Maumee river on Lake Erie. , Thence a road was developed to Fort Wayne from whence there were laml connections directed northwest into northeastern Indiana, southern Michigan and southwest to Logan sport on the Michigan Road. Competing wagon roads, however, were not responsible for the eclipse of the historic route. The light of the Michigan Road was dimmed by the relentless competition of the more efficient railroads, just as its turnpike conferes east of the Allegheny mountains, such as the National Road and the New York to , Philadelphia highway, were overshadowed two decades before. The main difference was in respect of time. The decadence of the Michigan Road was delayed by the years required for the railroads to push their lines westward as far as Indiana. During this interval it became a matter of common knowledge that the public wagon roads were a failure as a means of common-carrier transport. When Indiana's public funds were exhausted, the state turned to private agencies for the construction and maintenance of its transportation facilities and companies were incorporated to build clay, wooden and macadam turnpikes. On February 1G, 1848, the first law was passed authorizing a corporation to take possession of any land, even an existing wagon road, and convert it into a plank or coal road. Permission was granted to procure revenue by the erection and maintenance of toll . houses along this route. This era oi plank-road construction, patterned after a similar development in Canada, lasted about ten years. The practice survived long enough for the wood to rot and demonstrate the fallacy of attempting to surface roads with perishable material. The introduction of plank sections along the Michigan Road about the middle of the nineteenth century coincided in point of time with the failure of the fur trade as a profitable business. The Indian hunting grounds bordering the route were being transformed into farms and pas tare land and the fur-trading rendezvous were being supplanted bj thriving villages and towns. South Bend now had a population of 652 aouls. The trapper, the hunter and the savage had retreated before^ the advance of the men armed with the axe, the hoe and the pencil--the lumberman, the farmer and the merchant. The pressure of a methodical industrial civilization was pushing before it the carefree social structure of the frontier. By 1860, less than ten years after the railroad era was introduced by the State's abandonment of its internal improvement plan, the Madison and Indianapolis railroad was paying good dividends. The rail linea had captured the popular fancy. People were losing interest in wagon roads. The vital blow to the prestige of the Michigan Road was struck / when the Monon railroad, begun as the New Albany and Salem, completed its connection between the Ohio river and Michigan City. Tlie first long-distance run over its 288 miles of track was mnde by train on July 3, 1854. The second disastrous punch was delivered when the Peru and In- dianopoltj railroad, completed in 1854, began to divert traffic from the old uorth-and-south route. The Michigan Road never rallied from these body blows until the bicycle introduced a new type of transportation a quarter of a century later. Meanwhile, the county authorities tried to surface the wagon roads as best they could. Timber was plentiful and relatively cheap. It grew right beside the rood. Logs cut into plank, at the local sawmills were known to be much smoother than the round tree tiunks and saplings that composed the old corduroy roads. The plank roads of this period were mode by covering an earth roadway, about 10 feet wide, with two- inch oak boards laid down on two longitudinal sleepers or mud sills. When dry and level, this road gave good results. When it was wet, the horses had difficulty in standing on their feet. When two loaded wagons met there Was trouble. One had to pull off the planks and it was not an easy matter to climb back, especially if the ground was muddy. On the northern end of the Michigan Road, inp a better type of roiid surface There was n , ounil reason for thi.s attitude. Vehicles weie iiuj fining i:i quality year after year. The homemade two-wheel calt, the cnnlc IMIX farm wajrop, the oiic-hor.ic cli;iij- ,,r cliuisc and the p i i m i t h o coveted wajr- on woie soon to pins into the Inr.lio of forgotten things. Facloi y-in;ule wagns and buggies weie milking their iippcnrnncc on the Michigan Komi. In 1852, Homy und Clement S'.udc- bakcr opened ;i wagon shop on February 12 on Michigan stiuet in Snath Bend. Their shop was little moiu than a shack when they turned out the Hi-, t farm wagon. They had learned their trade f i o m theii- father, John Studebaker, who built the first Stndeb.ikcr wagon at Ashlnnd, then n villn';c in Richland county, Ohio. As the brothers undertook this innovation in manufactured wan ms. the Bellefontaine and Indiana poli; railroad, afterwards knpwn as the C. C. C. I. and later a unit of the Bitf Four, completed the first long-distance connection between Indiana and the states to the east and noi(Insist. The Baltimore and Ohio raihoad, stalled for a long time at Wheeling by the failure to obtain ri'i:lit-of-w:iy through tlie state of Ohio, \\as swerved to the i-outhwest. It cios.^ci! the Ohio river at Parkcrsburg and the first passenger trains ran over its MONEY-SAVING HINTS ON HOME HEATING,' by JOHN BARCLAY, Healing Expert M ANY householders \vher. firing their furnaces shovel in what they think is tho right amount of enal, then clcse the door an1 leave the fire. This is by no means the most cccncr.jical way to fire u furnace. To yet the mcst satisfactory results firm your lieatiny plant fellow these simple rules when firms: First, shake the p r a t e s g e n t l y wher. it is i^ces- sary to make rcom f o r f r e s h c c a l ; stop s h a k i n g as soon as you sec the first roJ glr-,v i n t h e a s h p i t . Shaking down live coals is wasteful. N e x t w i t h shovel or hoe, pull the live coals forward sc that the flrebed is level with the firedcor in front and slopes downward toward the back of the furnace. Firing the Furnace Be careful not to stir up the layer of ash underneath the coal. Put the first charge of coal into the hollow thus formed, filling it up to the level of the firedoor. Always leave a spot of live coals directly in front of the firedoor. This "hot-spot" will ignite the gases rising from the fresh coal and p r e v e n t t h e m from escaping into the chimney unconsumed. To aid In burning off the gases driven f r o m t h e f r e s h f u e l leave t h e small damper on the firedoor open about the thickness of a wooden match. By refueling- your furnace as I nave suggested above, you will not only enjoy better heat with longer firing periods, but your coal will last low- 3 where it was planked, travellers complained that the continuous traffic made a mud puddle under the planks. As a consequence, streams of muddy water squirted from beneath through the crevices of the planks, depressed by the wheels of a heavily laden wagon. Every object within striking distance was splattered with chocolate- brown ooze. At the meeting of the state board of agriculture on June 17, 1852, the members representing all sections of the state agreed that plank roads were unsatisfactory. Many of then were made of green lumber laid directly upon the dirt subgrade. These decayed so badly in four years as to become dangerous. Although the toll' payers were convinced at the end of the ten-year experiment that the plank roads were a failure, nothing could be done to salvage the $1,500,000 investment in 900 miles of the wooden surfaces scattered throughout the state. The plank-road fiasco did demonstrate, however, that the people were willing to try almost any experiment where there waa a possibility of find- lines, through Cincinnati and southern Indiana, to St. Louis, Mo., in 1857. In the decade preceding the firing of the first gun of the War Between the States at Fort Sumter, the public was under the impression that a railroad differed from a wagon road only in the character of the travelled way and the desig-n of the vehicles to ride on the rails. The idea was not current that a single company should own and operate nil the rolling stock as well as the roadbed. The farmers thought that anyone should have tho right to build and operate their own vehicles, with horses if need be, after the tracks hod been laid. Most of the railroads were built by organizing the settlers along the proposed line into a mutual improvement company. It was not until after the War Between the States that there was enacted in Indiana corporation legislation which permitted railroad companies to be financed by means of bond issues to be retired from subsequent profits made in the operation of the railroad. Even before this corporate legisla- lation was passed, however, the rapid extension of the rail lines left the wagon roads far in the rear. Ihe next forward step in the improvement of road surfaces is recorded in the acts of the general as-smbly passed in 185cS. For the first time mention was made of gravel roads. Probably this type of surface was not considered practicable at an earlier date because the gravel bans were neither visible no r accessible when impenetrable forests surrounded the dritt-chokcd streams flowing full of water level with the bonks. During the next year a law was pas. ed piohibiting the collection of tolls on road, that were not properly maintained. The public hod become so Hmroughly aware of the patent fail- ure of pl.snk voads that they took this step to avoid any recurrence of similar trouble. From this time on plank-road legislation from the statute-. Just before the War Between the States the villages and towns along the Michigan Road were little more than neighborhood settlements. Ono or two-story Iramu or brick houses were the loftiest stiuctures to bu seen. In 1800, Indianapolis, the largest city in the state, had a population of 18,011 people. Tlie citizens found employment in a small number of stores and factories and on the nearby farms. For the next twenty years the streets were little more than »psg S A Y M E R R Y C H H I S T M A S B Y T E L E P H O N E country roods allowed to remain in wretched condition because of inad ·- quate and j;uily paid loot] labor. A few miles of macadamized pike wno to be found in Indianiij),,;;;., "i Madison where the Michigan Hoad had b-eri haul sui faced. The town of Madi on could br,aa o," a population of '-·nly 073 men, women and craldrc-t). The cominodal civ-aliening o r (he cities along (he Road d i ' , , back to the of tli« Wn,- B.'lwwn the States when the r.iilroads Li-nan to be l,i,ktd into tlnough routes '·cived bj a u x i l i a r y w;,,, on fcCl ,,. r roads. At thus lime South B, ml llR d\ Michi/fun City weu- incoiporutcd us cities and the dilapidated section of plank Mirmcinjr on tl, 0 Mic.iigan Hoad were ton, ,,,, and , ep ] fH1( ] by grndeil and gravelled privately ownod turnpikes. This work was. accomplished under the provisions of Iht act of December 2.'!, 135.S, which al lowed f a county boards to w sl , mt control of abandoned p!ank road,, inese road* became danpemua wlion the planks b,. C am» so .ntten as to break beneath the horses' feet. The fu-st pavement of pinc'-\vood blocks was laid along Uio Michigan Koad in Indianapolis in 1870. Many of the ..treats had been surfaced with boulders for some time, but anyone who had been jolted in a steel-tired wagon on this type of surface h esi - tated to classify it as a pavement. For the next half century Indianapolis favored wood-block pavements, cspOttoHy in the ro-idontial sections! Throughout the state voices were now raised ag ainst the privately owned toll road. People were sick and ·red of tho unnecessary delays and the excessive cost of Iran portation. Jn 1770, the general assembly enacted legislation for the county control of free turnpikes. Under these laws the removal of the tollgates be^an on ^he Michrgan Road and the other appy NewYear From an old friend who's always near At snap of switch or plug of line. Your willing servant for "thirty-nine." Wishing You AIL... Happiness and Prosperity Throughout the Coming Year EMPLOYEES OF EASTERN SHORE PUBLIC SERVICE RADIO SERVICE AT J. H. NICHOLS CO. STORE IN DENTON EVERY MONDAY Phone No. 40 At Minimum Cost . .. BY CERTIFIED EXPERTS DON'T WAIT - CALL US TODAY! L. M. R O Y E R Cordova, Md. PHONE-- HILLSBORO 16-F-22 PHILCO RADIOS COMPLETE LINE BATTERY ELECTRIC From $16*95 Up Phone Hillsboro 16-F-22 L.M. ROYER CORDOVA MD. FOR THE Social Season AHEAD! WM. SCHLUDCRBSRG-T. J. KURDLE CO Wleers of o to W REDUCED RATES lor Long Distance Calls will be in effect m flJIV f 1 HDTC' B S'%£II£ UAi IMlMMAa and Monday the 26th Let family and friends hear your "Merry Christmas" by telephone Tvalcal Rates fee Station-to-Station Call* from Denton Annapolis .35 uoltimore .35 Boston, Mass ~" "75 Chicago, HI. 1,15 Detroit. Mich. .83 Cumberland, Aid. _ .50 Lancaster, I'a 35 Hagerstown, Md. .40 New York, N. Y. 45 Norfolk, Va. 40 Ocean City, Md. _ Phila., Pa. _______ Pittsburgh, Pa Richmond, Va Salisbury, Md. ___ Washington, D. C. Westminster, Md. Wilmington, Del. York, Pa. ________ .35 .35 60 45 .35 .35 .35 .35 .50 Turn to page 3, please These are the same bargain ratea In effect every nlgHl after 7 and all day Sunday. Ratea quotod are for throe minutes These reduced xates will also be in effect on New Year's Day and the Following Monday The Chesapeake and Potomac Telephone Company Market St. Denton 9900 Let's wish together! Let's overlook our little complaints, and let's be thankful for what »ve have and for what we intend having Let's wish for each other's joy in this great season . . . and hope for each other's happiness in the coming year. It's easier this way, and more enjoyable. All to/jelher then! 0 · ·".»(' ,-· » - r twttnas- gags SR.V M E K I 1 Y C H R I S T M A S BY T E L E P H O N E X-: ORMOND L ANDREW Special Representative CONTINENTAL AMERICAN LIFE INSURANCE COMPANY Wilmington, Delaware DENTON, MD. . TELEPHONE 16 E/iT P R O D U C T S extend to their many friends BEST W I S H E S fora You must have perfect skin, well cared for handa and a coiffure that does justice to your personality. And our experienced operators are able to help you appear fresh and lovely at all times. errg Christmas and a Beto 99ear ^^^ Christmas Candle-light ? What a remarkable contrafictkniiii AST k tlie feeble gleam of a Christmas *" ' ' should have greater power to light paths of the future than all t*tt searchlights of science! , ID that light that came from BetUabo^ the harshness and roughness of fife mellowed. Hearts are -warmed other hearts as no sunlight ea them. Eyes filled with kindness for men cannot see in tfiig magic glow, the distinctions of race _ , rank or station, wealth or poverty*? Mankind does not need m«rvlight on problems today -- but only that i friendlier light that comes from k» mas candles. May YOUR ~ a happy on*.,' r--- --~' Ihe Peoples Bank of Denton, Maryland PROMPT DELIVERY/ Sinclair delivery trucks buck any weather to keep your tank supplied with Sinclair Super-Flame fuel oil that is as pure and clean as when it left the refinery. The quality of Super-Flame is rigidly controlled every step of the way from oil well to your oil burner to maintain absolute ^tSformitv Modern refining methods assure maximum usable beat units t*t eaUotL .Call or write us today. ^ »"*· NEWSPAPER! AGENT SINCLAIR REFINING COMPANY (INC) P. 6. GROUSE Phone 172 - « Denton, Maryland

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