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Monday, February 1, 2016

Letter to the Editor: Making the Roads

Source: Greenwich Graphic. 1903

Solomon Stoddard Mead

Editor of the Graphic:

It is now time to Greenwich turned it attention to the working of the public roads. To have good roads it is necessary to have good competent men. Men who have pride in good roads not men who are merely working for the pay they get. Men who have no idea whatever to plan and execute. Good roads are the making of any place or town. If the roads are all that can be desired it will soon bring in a line of inhabitants that will be an honor and benefit to the place. There are some roads that _____ me and the great majority of the roads are worked by men entirely unfit for the business.

In the first place the road should be laid out as straight as possible. There should be a line drawn from point to point and the road worked to that line, on both sides and make the road as wide as it should be, no place or spot less than twenty feet, in order if two wagons meet they should have ample room to pass going either way. No road less than twenty feet should ever be narrowed up, than show roads that were narrowed up until four feet last year from previous years. The top of the road should be as level as possible and give ample scope for all water to run off and smooth enough to allow a wagon to run smoothly and will not have hills and hollows all along the way. There never should be in any case a break or hillock put across any roads. If it is necessary for the water to cross the road let it be done in a conduit pipe, and if there is a rock in the way blast it out at once, and it will be done forevermore.

Now by all means all small hills or knolls on the road and they are legion, cut down and cart the dirt into the hollows and keep on doing so until all roads assume an even in uniformal grade. Never go into a road bank or into field for dirt when there are  thousands of loads waiting to be removed in the hillocks all over town. If anyone wishes to see my form of the road I would ask him to ride with me from White Plains through Kensico station and through Kenisco village to Armonk and thence to Mount Kisco and if one can find one of these condemnatory breaks along the line, I would like to know where it is. I have rode over many roads for many miles in all directions and I will say that the roads the town of Greenwich have been more poorly worked than any other place I know of and the reason is they have been worked by a class of citizens that did not know at all the principle of good roads. I have seen many hills covered with breakers from top to bottom. Many roads are made so narrow and the dirt is swept up in the middle of the road so on the horse had to travel on the ridge and the other in the gutter and when two men both had to go into the gutter. The reason is the men who worked the roads were not master of their business and did not care as long as they could draw their pay, and they speak plainly. I feel the roads were given to such men for political purpose in order to obtain their influence in the coming elections. I now understand that the management of the road work has been changed and it is now in the hands of an engineer and that Mr. Minor is the man. I am very favorably impressed with Mr. Minor, and I trust we shall have a great change for the better, that he will appoint the most capable men for the work and not be governed by any political end and that the roads will be straightened by drawing a line and the hillocks cut down and the hollows filled and then before many years we can boast of very good roads. In all business it requires a man who is master of his business. It takes a watch maker to make it watch not a blacksmith. Let us have good roads and no breaks, Mr. Minor. 

                                                                       SOLOMON S. MEAD

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