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A Maximum of Good Results: Martin Dodge and the Good Roads Trains
Southern Railway Good Roads Train (con't)
In Chattanooga from November 13-16, OPRI's Harrison led construction of a sample road on a 3,500-foot straight stretch of Vance Avenue at the foot of Missionary Ridge. The clay loam soil of the roadbed was a good soil for a road "if properly drained and consolidated." To illustrate proper construction of an earth road, Harrison proceeded by "simply rounding it up with the road machine, leaving wide and open ditches on both sides, and rolling the surface with the heavy steam roller." [Bulletin 23, p. 25]
Col. Moore, in his speech to the 2-day Chattanooga convention, referred to the road to Tusculum College:
I am sure those people in Greeneville, where we had such a successful meeting, would not have had anything permanent done in the near future for good roads unless we had visited them. They are going to complete that road to Tusculum College, and it will enable that college to get more money and more students. If they get that road to the college they are going to put in an electric car line. So you see what improvements follow in the wake of good roads.
The same could happen in Chattanooga, destined to be "one of the greatest cities in the country" in 25 years or so. Moore did not expect much help from the State legislature at the time, "but in a short time, when you have your organization, I am sure the legislature of Tennessee will fall in line and help the roads." [Bulletin 23, p. 26]
Hamilton County Commissioner J. W. Clift addressed the convention on "Requisites to Road Improvement." He recalled being summoned to Chattanooga for a meeting of the commission building the county courthouse:
The whole country was flooded with water and the river was out of its banks. I mounted my horse, however, and came. Up here by Square Forks my horse mired down with me in the public road so that I had to get off into mud knee deep. That was the condition of farmers then. Such a state of affairs could not be encountered now with our improved roads. It would be impossible for a horse to mire now on the road between Chattanooga and the upper end of our county.
Clift discussed the two most important requisites of road building. First, he said, was a "wise, wholesome, common-sense law under which these roads may be constructed." The current law in the county was effective, but he added, "The most important requisite in carrying out of the provisions of the road law is the selection of proper men to take charge of the roads." The second requisite was funding. Although the county had been "crippled somewhat for funds," he said that "a long stretch of good roads [had been] built in our county under the contract system." By selecting contractors solely on merit, "we have made good progress in road building." [Bulletin 23, p. 27]
Colonel R. W. Richardson, secretary of the NGRA, addressed the convention on the "Character of the Good Roads Movement." He explained that, "The high purpose of this movement is not always understood." The railroad men, he said, understood that developing roads "means eventually larger returns for them." What was not as well understood was that the issue crossed city and county lines. The "question of transportation is one of greatest importance to every town and section." If the "enterprising men of Chattanooga" want to build up their city, they must not limit themselves to improving the city's roads. They "must broaden their views until they reach all the surrounding country." He said:
Now, the question of good roads is primarily an industrial question. It is at the very basis of the transportation question. Its solution means larger, broader, and better commercial and social conditions, and the people of this particular district can do nothing wiser than to improve the highways over which are transported all their commodities before they reach the great railroads.
Each locality would have to work out its transportation problems "according to the conditions involved." The Good Roads Train was designed to help:
We come to you with this train, carrying its complement of machinery and improved methods. We do not hope that we are going to revolutionize your methods. We only hope to inspire the people where we make these stops to give their attention to the matter of organization for road improvement.
Communities should work together to build common highways that cross jurisdictions. "It will not do much good to build a short stub of a road if you plunge into the mud at the end of it on reaching a county line." Cities, counties, and towns should cooperate to connect their roads. He concluded:
These are the thoughts that we have tried to burn into the minds of the business men of the country through which we have come. [Bulletin 23, p. 27-28[
The Chattanooga District Good Roads Association was organized during the convention. The bulletin did not list the resolutions adopted, but noted that they were "suitable."
Beginning with Birmingham, the first stop in Alabama, the train spent a week at each stop to allow more time for sample road building. Unlike some other locations visited, Jefferson County, in which Birmingham is located, "has often witnessed practical road demonstrations, that county to-day having 225 miles of improved public highways, including chert and macadam roads, and some of the finest to be found anywhere in the United States." As a result, "The interest of the people in the coming of the train and in the movement was very great, greater perhaps because the people were constant witnesses of the value of improved highways."
The sample road was built on an extension of Avenue A from 24th Street, from Birmingham to Avondale, a distance of about 1.5 miles:
In the six days' work fully a mile of this road was completed, and some work was done over the entire distance. This work consisted of cutting, filling, grading, and macadamizing."
The main goal was to demonstrate "the proper use of local materials, slag and chert, in connection with the latest improved road-building machinery." [Bulletin 23, p. 29]
The convention was held on November 20 through 22. Mayor W. M. Drennen welcomed convention participants to Birmingham. Although the county had good roads, he welcomed the opportunity presented by the Southern Railway Good Roads Train to learn "the most up-to-date methods of building country roads." He added:
Now, if we can get the people of Alabama more interested in the improvement of public roads throughout the State we will have won a great victory.
Colonel J. M. Falkner of Montgomery, Alabama, addressed the convention on the duty of the Federal Government. Although he was a "strict constructionist" of the Constitution, Colonel Falkner said "there is no question as to the power of either the Federal or State governments to do what is necessary in the interest of good roads." He argued:
The Government of the United States has undertaken to carry and deliver the mails, and this to-day is essentially a governmental function; and the governments of the several States have undertaken to furnish highways; therefore, it follows that whatever powers may be necessary to enable either the Federal or the State governments to perform their duties exist, and it remains for us to see to it that these duties are performed.
The delegates formed the Northern Alabama Good Roads Association and adopted resolutions "embodying the form of the organization and the rules which are to govern its operations." [Bulletin 23, p. 33]
The train stopped in Mobile, "the southernmost point visited," from November 24 to 30. The road improved was Washington Street from Virginia Street southward. In keeping with the idea of using the best available road building material in the area, Harrison used oyster shells, "of which there is a great supply in Mobile and in near-by sections":
Mobile had already many shell roads constructed by simply putting a deep layer of unbroken shells over the road improved and leaving them to be crushed into good condition by the traffic which should pass over them.
(This idea of letting traffic compact the road surface was at the heart of a long-running debate over the value of narrow bicycle-type tires and wider tires for heavier vehicles.)
Harrison removed the sand surface, used the steam roller to create a good foundation, placed a 6-inch layer of oyster shells on the foundation, and compacted them with the steam roller before placing sand and gravel for top dressing:
Near Mobile there is an abundant supply of good gravel, and by using the combination of oyster shells and gravel it is possible to make, at a reasonable cost, an excellent road. Nothing of the kind, however, had been constructed previous to the arrival of the good-roads train. This demonstration, therefore, not only attracted the attention of the people in that vicinity, but undoubtedly will lead to excellent results at other points along the Gulf Coast. [Bulletin 23, p. 33-34]
Although Dodge addressed earlier conventions, his remarks were not included in the bulletin until the Mobile convention. His subject, an excerpt of which was reprinted in the bulletin, was "Relation of Roads to Rural Population." He said, "It is a fact, known to every one of us, that agriculture has declined within the last two decades, and especially compared to the general advancement of the Nation." He explained his theory on why this decline occurred:
We find that the concentration of population in the cities has been brought about mainly by the cheapening of transportation rates on railroads and steamships and the securing of long hauls at an exceedingly low rate. These advantages, however, have left the agricultural interests relatively worse off than before the change took place. Therefore it seems to me it is incumbent upon us to remove, if possible, the obstacles in the way of more rapid advancement of population in the rural districts.
The goal was to reduce the cost of the short haul. He believed that "those having more wealth, who are securing direct benefits from the rural districts, should assist in building the rural highways," as was the case in the Cleveland area. Cuyahoga County had a $100,000 fund for road improvements, 80 percent of which was raised in Cleveland. No one in the city, Dodge reported, complains that the money will be used mainly in rural areas:
While all who live in the country must go to the city, a smaller proportion, though a greater number, with their carriages, bicycles, and automobiles, go from the city to the country. While without the aid of taxation we have been able to secure cheap transportation by means of the railroads, we have not obtained the cheap transportation over the common roads which we ought to have. [Bulletin 23, p. 35]
Rabbi Alfred G. Moses of Mobile addressed the convention on "The Citizen's Duty to Public Improvements." The excerpt of his speech began:
The Romans were the great organizers of antiquity. Without holding good roads conventions, they went to work to pave the broad domains of the republic and the empire. They saw the absolute need of good roads as the media of political and economic unity. The Roman roads spread forth like arteries throughout the system of States and colonies, transmitting the lifeblood of the nation . . . . The Roman ideal of civic duty and practical patriotism has never been excelled. The citizen's duty to the public might be emphasized by many examples from Roman sources.
The Egyptians, Chaldeans, Babylonians, and Persians were other societies that "have paid particular attention to this form of public improvement." The Bible, Rabbi Moses said, contains many references to roads:
Moses himself showed an appreciation of good roads when, in Biblical language, he sent messengers unto Sihon, King of Heshon, saying: "Let me pass through thy land; I will go along by the highway; I will neither turn unto the right hand nor unto the left." (Deut. iii, 27.) No figure of speech was employed more frequently by Bible writers than that of a highway or road. The great prophet of the exile, the second Isaiah, rises to the full length of prophetic vision when he conceives the imminent return of the exiles from Babylon as a triumphal march along a smooth and even highway: "The voice of him that crieth in the wilderness, Prepare ye the way of the Lord, make straight in the desert a highway for our God. Every valley shall be exalted, and every mountain and hill shall be made low: and the crooked shall be made straight, and the rough places plain." (Is. xl, 3, 4.)
Moving to the present, he said that, "From ancient down to modern times no public utility received more attention than the roads, for they were the only means of transportation." Until the "shrill whistle" of the locomotive sounded the "knell of public roads," every President through James Monroe issued messages containing "elaborate discussions of this matter." Now, "We are again realizing the necessity of good roads," as this convention made clear in a practical way:
In this country I am afraid there is too much apathy on the part of citizens toward public improvements. Europe is far ahead of us in this respect. We have yet to acquire the art of beautifying our cities with the proper style of architecture and landscape effects. We have yet to learn the duty of providing our rural and municipal districts with ordinary public improvements, such as proper roads, harbor facilities, and with the higher forms of public utilities, such as advanced schools, public libraries, city parks, public statuary, museums of art and nature, and imposing municipal structures. Yet all these things will come in time. With our great resources we will yet vie with Europe in useful and beautiful public improvements. Mere sentiment will not suffice. We must produce concrete results. A good, well-paved road is one of the best paths leading to the development of real patriotism. [Bulletin 23, p. 36-37]
In addition to forming the South Alabama Good Roads Association, the delegates adopted a resolution stating that the association will "vigorously present" information to the State legislature urging "the importance of enacting a well-digested and practical road law, founded upon modern experience and applicable to the several counties of the State," with the goal that "common road construction may be encouraged and put in active operation." The delegates also endorsed the OPRI's work, and regretted that it "has not received the support which its importance demands." Therefore, the delegates urged their representatives in Congress to "use their influence and votes to secure proper recognition and financial support for this Office." [Bulletin 23, p. 38]
The Southern Railway good roads train was in Montgomery the week of December 2, 1901. "Several years ago," according to the bulletin, Montgomery County "took up in earnest the question of improved highways, with the result that she has to-day upward of 100 miles of chert and macadam roads leading from Montgomery to the county lines in all directions." Plans called for two object-lesson roads, but inclement weather prevented work on a country earth road at Snowdoun. However, Harrison was able to build a 1,200-foot long stretch of macadam road on Sayre Street in the city, including "a great deal of grading and foundation work, and chert and gravel were used for surfacing."
The 3-day convention, December 4 through 6, took place in the chamber of the House of Representatives. The bulletin described it as a "very large and enthusiastic convention," adding that, "Some expressed the opinion that it was the finest and most earnest body of men ever gathered in an Alabama State convention of any character whatever." [Bulletin 23, p. 38]
State Superintendent of Education John W. Abercrombie addressed the convention on "Common Schools as Affected by Roads." He was proud of what the State had accomplished since the law establishing public schools had been approved in 1854. The State now appropriated a million dollars a year for common-school education or 50 percent of all State revenues:
Considering the conditions under which our people have labored, that notwithstanding our poverty we have been confronted with the absolute necessity of educating two races almost equal in numbers, and that this burden has been borne practically without assistance from any source, our achievement has been remarkable.
Still, he said, "the results have not been wholly satisfactory." In particular, attendance was not as good as it should be, and the lack of good roads was one reason:
A school may be perfectly equipped as to building, furnishings, and trained teachers, and at the same time prove a failure on account of a lack of accessibility. Accessibility depends upon the kind and condition of the public roads.
Why build good school buildings, he asked, "along impassable highways?" We would not build homes or businesses there, so why schools? Abercrombie quoted U.S. Senator John T. Morgan as saying:
Not only are good roads pleasant and ornamental features of a country, but they are the wisest and most economical bestowal of money and labor. Every civilized country is measured by its roads, as much as it is by its industries, in the estimate that men place upon its value.
Abercrombie mentioned other factors affecting good schools, but summarized his views on the link between schools and roads:
It is possible to have good roads without good schools, but it is absolutely impossible to have the best of schools without good roads . . . . Let us be encouraged by this movement looking to an improvement in road building and road working. I see in it a better day for the boys and girls who must look to the country schools for preparation for citizenship and for success in everyday life. [Bulletin 23, p. 39-41]
Henry Fonde, president of the recently formed South Alabama Good Roads Association, also addressed the convention. Like many of the early good roads advocates, Fonde gave a history lesson:
The great importance of the public highways or roads was recognized at the very earliest times of which we have any historical knowledge. Herodotus refers to a great road in Egypt, which was built during the reign of King Cheops, and upon which more than 100,000 men were employed for a period of ten years. Strabo informs us that the city of Babylon was paved about the year 2000 B.C., and that three great roads were constructed, radiating from that city and extending to Susa, Ecbatana, and Sardis. The road leading from Babylon to Memphis was paved at a very early date, and along or near to it were constructed the great cities of Nineveh, Palmyra, Damascus, Tyre, and Antioch. The senate of Athens and the governments of Lacedaemon and Thebes exhibited great interest in roads and bestowed a great deal of care upon them. The Carthaginians were systematic and scientific road buildings, and it was from them that Rome learned the art of road making.
Alabama and Mississippi, by contrast, "are hampered in whatever we may undertake for the improvement of our highways by unsatisfactory laws," which relied on rural residents, who know nothing about how to build a road, to donate time to road improvements. He argued for more involvement by county and State governments based on proper road building techniques. [Bulletin 23, p. 41]
The Alabama State Good Roads Association was formed. (If the convention adopted resolutions, the bulletin did not mention them.)
The next stop was in Atlanta from December 9 through 14, 1901. The object-lesson road work, rebuilding Soldiers' Home Road, was difficult because of the rain that seemed to follow the train from stop to stop:
The demonstration work was conducted under many difficulties, there being storms most of the week. Excavating to a depth of 10 feet over a considerable portion of the course and heavy filling in other places was necessary. This cutting through heavy clay, and the time allotted under the bad weather conditions was not sufficient to make the demonstration desired. The work showed, however, what modern machinery will do. In addition to this heavy grade work a short stretch of macadam was made, the rock used for the purpose being local granite. [Bulletin 23, p. 42]
Although Dodge spoke at each convention on the way, only a few of his speeches, including his presentation in Atlanta, were reprinted in the OPRI bulletin covering the good roads train. Dodge's speech was called "Work of the Federal Government for Good Roads." Dodge began by discussing the migration of the population to urban areas:
This has worked a hardship on the agricultural regions, and they have failed to keep pace with the cities in public improvements. One of the chief causes of this will be found in bad roads.
He noted that the cost of transportation over railroads and deep waters had been diminished, but the cost of road transportation was as great as ever:
On the deep water of the Great Lakes we take tonnage 1,000 miles at no greater cost than is required to carry it 5 miles by animal power. There is no doubt we can reduce this cost greatly by improving highways. Therefore, it ought to be a matter of interest to the people to take up this subject.
He urged the States to get involved, as they once had been involved with roads and railroads in the 19th century. As for the Federal Government, it had once been involved in roadbuilding, having appropriated $7 million to build 700 miles of road in the early 1800's, "but that policy was abandoned long ago." As for the present:
Within a few years Congress, in consequence of the demands from various sections of the country, has thought it wise again to foster in some measure the improvement of the highways; and for the purpose of ascertaining the facts and publishing useful information established a small office in the Department of Agriculture, appropriating, however, only $8,000 from year to year until last year. They have now made it $20,000, and I am informed that there will be at least double that amount appropriated for the next year. But this is too small to enable the Government to make any contribution toward the actual construction of roads. For many years past the Director of this Office and his subordinates have been engaged in visiting the different localities and giving such information as might be of use to the people in improving their highways. The General Government is doing all it can in the way of giving scientific information to diminish the cost of construction, and thus increase the amount of improvement in proportion to the money expended. General Stone, my predecessor in office, published a large number of pamphlets giving instruction on the various phases of our work, and, as it is not possible for me to enter into the details of construction, I will simply call your attention to these publications, which will be furnished to any person making application for them. [Bulletin 23, p. 43-44]
Professor T. P. Branch of the Georgia School of Technology also addressed the convention on the technical aspects of "Road Construction." He explained that the "locating of a road is one of the fine arts of the profession." He considered location even more important than the details of construction:
In time the mistakes of construction are usually corrected, those of location rarely ever. The mistakes of the roadmaker are not so fatal, but they are none the less costly. All that has been said to you of the expensiveness of poor roads applies with double force to poorly located roads. The mistake is not announced by a crash, as when a bridge goes down. The consequent loss runs in a trickling stream, which is making our country poorer and poorer. The time has come to stop this.
Branch also stressed the importance of maintenance.
The road must be kept in good order at a reasonable cost. One of the weakest points in the old road system was this lack of provision for regular repairs. "A stitch in time saves nine" is more than true of road repairs. [Bulletin 23, p. 45]
During the convention, advocates formed the Georgia State Good Roads Association.
(Again, the bulletin did not reprint resolutions.)
Greenville, South Carolina
The Southern Railway Good Roads Train was in Greenville, South Carolina, the week of December 16, 1901. Two macadam object-lesson roads were built. One was constructed on four blocks of Washington Street with granite from nearby quarries:
The crushing plant from the good roads train was set up on one of the side streets, where the granite bowlders [sic] had previously been placed for this work. They were crushed in the usual sizes, separated with the revolving screen, from which they dropped into specially prepared compartments, and from these bins they were dumped into spreading wagons, which in turn spread the materials upon the road, thus illustrating the use of modern labor-saving machinery.
The street posed a unique problem:
The street where this work was done had previously been macadamized by hand, the materials used being large stones, varying in size from 6 inches in diameter to 12 and 14 inches. It was difficult, therefore, for the road machine, or even for men with picks, crowbars, and shovels, to prepare the subgrade unaided; and so spikes were placed in the wheels of the steam roller, with which the surface of the street was torn up. The large bowlders were then taken out, and the foundation leveled with the road machine and rolled with the steam roller without the spikes. Only one side of the street was used for this demonstration; that is, from the car track in the center to the curbstone, a distance of about 16 feet. The materials were spread on with the spreading carts in two layers, according to the usual custom, and sprinkled and rolled, enough binding material being added to form an impervious crust and to make the road smooth and fit for immediate use. [Bulletin 23, p. 45-46]
The bulletin did not mention the fact that the ground was frozen, but this point was cited in an article about the Good Roads Train in the June 1902 issue of Good Roads Magazine. [p. 5]
In addition, a half-mile of earth road just outside the city was "graded up and prepared with the elevating grader and blade machine and rolled with the steam roller." For this work, convict labor was used, consistent with a State law that required all convicts sentenced to less than 5 years in jail to work on the public highways.
Governor Miles B. McSweeney had appointed delegates from every county to attend the convention and nearly all were present. Although the convention was confined to a single day, many participants spent several days in the area observing construction of the two object-lesson roads. The bulletin observed:
One of the most interesting features of the week was the active effort of these supervisors to inform themselves about all improved methods of road making and their holding of frequent meetings for the discussion of road work and means of pushing road improvement. [Bulletin 23, p. 45]
State Senator A. H. Dean, in his address of welcome, said that he considered the meeting the most important to be held in the State in a decade. He ended on a rousing note:
We regard good roads as next in importance to our great duty in training the minds and hearts of the young. We are thoroughly alive to the importance of this movement and have resolutely determined that within the confines of Greenville County good roads shall not be simply a Utopian dream, and we invite other sections of the State to lock shields as did the Roman legions and let us bear our grand old State onward in this work to that measure of accomplishment to which our conditions entitle us. [Bulletin 23, p. 47]
Duncan C. Heyward, a farmer who had been elected Governor on November 4 and would take office on January 20, 1903, addressed the convention. He began:
The only roads with which I have had experience are not the kind which we care to discuss on this occasion. Most of us are too familiar with them already. The only thing which may be termed good about them is that they remind one of St. Paul's definition of faith, being at best but the "substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen."
Everyone understood the importance of good roads, Governor-elect Heyward said, but this issue appealed to no one more than "to that great class who are the bone and sinew of our country, the farmers." The greatest obstacle was "the cost that must necessarily be incurred in constructing good roads." He encouraged the NGRA and all other supporters "to endeavor to remove the natural aversion which people have to an increase in taxation; they should persuade them to let 'down the bars,' so far as taxation for good roads is concerned."
Practical demonstrations, such as the two in the Greenville area, were valuable because they "let the people see what good modern roads really are, how easily they can be built and kept in repair, and how durable they must be when built in a scientific manner with improved machinery handled by men who are experts in the business, having devoted to their profession years of study." He added:
I speak from my own experience when I say that road building is something which grows upon one. A man can catch the fever for better roads just as he can catch the measles or mumps, and it is a fever which is extremely contagious. Everyone who had been driving over bad roads all of his life and comes upon a mile of good, hard road which was once a miserable quagmire is sure to catch the contagion.
He knew that the common practice of farmers devoting a few days each year to road work "will not give us good roads." The State's duty was to "assist the people in their work by the passage of wise road laws and the election or the appointment of officers who shall supervise the construction of roads." [Bulletin 23, p. 47-48]
(Governor Heyward would not be able to deliver on these words. The State Legislature did not approve legislation creating a State road commission until 1909, 2 years after he left office in January 1907.)
The South Carolina Good Roads Association was formed, resolving:
After a Christmas and New Year's break, the Southern Railway Good Roads Train resumed the tour in Columbus on January 13-18.
The road work consisted in making about 2,000 feet of earth road and a short stretch of macadam, the latter by the use of the local granite. There was much heavy grading to be done, but the road builders were able to show the use and advantage of improved road-making machinery and of scientific methods of road construction. [Bulletin 23, p. 49]
Inclement weather delayed the object-lesson road work. In addition, Good Roads Magazine explained that "comparatively little work was done on account of lack of proper materials" on the road in the North Highlands district of the city:
Much of the work consisted of cutting down a steep grade and in filling. A very much improved roadway was constructed, a short portion of which was macadamized, the stone used being a native granite from the banks of the Chattahoochie. [February 1902, p. 2]
The bulletin described the 2-day Columbus convention as "very large" and "with an attendance from southern Georgia and southern Alabama." Colonel Moore, Colonel Richardson, Dodge, and others addressed the convention, but the bulletin did not reprint their speeches. The only presentation reprinted was a technical talk by Professor S. W. McCallie, Assistant State Geologist, on "Roads and Road-Building Materials of Georgia."
Delegates formed the Chattahoochee Valley Good Roads Association to represent nearby counties in the two States. Resolutions demanded better road laws; condemned the system of working out the poll tax, preferring the payment of taxes in money, not labor; endorsed "organization and action in the work of road improvement"; favored the use of convict labor; and thanked leaders of the Southern Railway Good Roads Train. [Bulletin 23, p. 51]
Good Roads Magazine noted a development that was sufficiently unusual to deserve mention:
One feature of the convention was the presence of a delegation representing the Woman's Federation of Georgia, headed by Mrs. J. L. Johnson, who made a brief address to the convention. This president of this association was made an honorary president of the Chattahoochie Valley Association.
The magazine also observed that, "The superintendent of the public schools, with all the pupils of the high school, attended both sessions of the convention." [January 1902, p. 3]
The train arrived in Augusta, Georgia, for a 1-week stay on January 20. Again, heavy rains interfered with the object-lesson work on the unimproved road in front of the Schuetzen Platz, extending to the Sibley and King Mills. [Good Roads Magazine, February 1902, p. 3] The bulletin observed that despite the heavy rains, the demonstration "was successful in attracting large numbers of people and in showing the uses of improved machinery and the best methods of road grading and construction." The county in which Augusta is located, Richmond County, "has one of the best improved road systems of the United States," with a great portion of public highways consisting of improved earth or macadamized roads. [Bulletin 23, p. 51]
The Augusta convention was held on January 23 and 24, with participants from Georgia and South Carolina. The convention chairman was General Mathew C. Butler, a lawyer who had served in the U.S. House of Representatives, the Confederate Army, the United States Senate, and the Spanish-American War. He emphasized the need for systematic organization and the hardest of hard work, and he suggested that his State, South Carolina, appoint a good roads engineer with a sufficient salary to ensure his ability. He did not want to absolve the State and municipalities of all burden, but believed that permanent improvement of roads could not occur without Federal Government aid. He thought such aid should be matched on an equal basis by the localities. [Bulletin 23, p. 52]
Governor A. H. Candler of Georgia agreed. "Nothing is so calculated to bring about the advancement of the material interests of the States and promote interchange of communities as good roads." He added, "But talk does not build roads. Talk is cheap; it takes money to buy land." Still, he acknowledged that "talk is important after all. You have got to do the wind work first." [Bulletin, p. 52]
The convention also featured John D. Twiggs, an Augusta engineer, presenting a technical speech on "Practical Problems in Road Building." He discussed such topics as grades, location, drainage, cross section, road classification, and surface pavements. He ended by quoting Georgia State Geologist Yates who said that "if all the common public roads of Georgia were first-class macadam roads, there would be a saving to the State of over $6,250,000 annually, or enough to gravel or macadamize over 6,000 miles of roads." Twiggs said:
These figures should be a sufficient incentive to make each man use his best efforts in furthering the great work of perfecting the roads throughout our State. [Bulletin 23, p. 56]
The Savannah Valley Good Roads Association was organized, with General Butler as its president. Resolutions favored formation of associations to work for road improvement and recommended giving the OPRI bureau status with increased appropriations. [Bulletin 23, p. 56]
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