American Society of Civil Engineers.

Transactions of the American Society of Civil Engineers (Volume 81) online

. (page 52 of 167)
Online LibraryAmerican Society of Civil EngineersTransactions of the American Society of Civil Engineers (Volume 81) → online text (page 52 of 167)
Font size
QR-code for this ebook

and between Lake Street and Van Buren Street is approximately
3 100 ft., and within this area of less than ^ sq. mile is concentrated
the business center of America's second city. Towering buildings rise
on every street, each street is almost equally thronged, although State
Street, with its department stores, is noticeably the busiest. Pedes-
trian, car, and vehicle traffic combine to produce the very limit of
impeded traffic. By a reliable count, made by unprejudiced observers
in 1910, the number of pedestrians on State Street, passing the
corner of Madison Street, was so great that, without doubt, it might
be termed the most densely traversed locality in the world. Any
fair Saturday afternoon, the 20-ft. sidewalk is thronged with densely-
packed, slowly-moving crowds, which fill it from curb to building line,
about equally divided between those moving north and those moving
south, on both sides of the street.

In this section are the large retail stores, many wholesale stores,
some warehouses, the banks, exchanges, hotels, theaters, office build-
ings, some light manufacturing establishments, in fact, everything
that tends to draw people ; the result has been that every foot of groimd
has been utilized by the erection of business buildings, mainly of a
very good type, with the corresponding result that valuations and
rentals are high.



Step beyond the limits of that "Loop", and on all sides (the East Mr.
Side excepted) one immediately notices the difference. The buildings ^°"°^6'"-
are of a different character, and the hurrying crowds are absent.

Fig. 7.

East of the Loop on Wabash Avenue, the city extends one block to
Michigan Avenue, overlooking Grant Park and the Lake. Michigan
Avenue, like Fifth Avenue, New York City, has been kept free of


Mr. street cars, its traffic resembles that of the eastern city, except that it
' has no 'buses, and its development has been very similar. The build-
ings are of the highest class, consisting of office buildings, first-class
jewelry and retail stores, clubs, places of musical entertainment, the
Public Library and the Art Institute. Mr. Jerrard's Fig. 1 is a view
looking north, as indicated on the map, Fig. 7, showing Grant Park,
with Michigan Avenue on the left and Lake Michigan on the right.
Marvelous, indeed, have been the changes. The Illinois Central Rail-
road is shown crossing the pond or arm of the lake on a wooden
trestle. All the neighboring section has been filled in, so that the
general level is 14 ft. above the lake, and the park has been enlarged
to the extent shown on the map. The Suburban Division of the rail-
road traversing the park is confined within a depressed way, with
retaining walls. On the left, instead of the church spires and com-
fortable looking dwellings surrounded with lawns, now stretches an
unbroken line of high-class buildings giving high valuation to all the

Across the Chicago River (at the top of the map), begins the
"North Side". Here, only a step, as it were, from the busy, high-value
center, is a neglected, low-value section extending for approximately
a mile northward. It is given over to rooming and boarding houses,
with warehouses and some manufacturing. Similarly, the territory
adjoining the "Loop" on the west and south sides contains large
areas of low value, with cheap tenements, mixed in with manufacturing
establishments, warehouses, and railroad yards, awaiting a Master
Hand, with Capital and Genius to transform them into a harmonious
scheme to produce the income in tax returns which such advantageously
located property should bring.

Mr. Franklin F. Mayo,* Esq. — The value of land is not constant, but
^^°' is always moving up or down in the scale, with a period of stationary
value, the time element of these three phases being uncertain, owing
to changes in the factors producing the value. Also, certain locations
and districts possess a premimn value over the income value, at
certain periods. The speaker contends that this premium value is
uncertain, and should be considered in all taxing valuations, as a
property in a district where values are declining should be taxed
(that is, valued) at a price based on the income obtainable on a lease
made at that time, and not on a basis of sale during the premium

To do this would require a keen sense of the human element factor,
and no method of valuation would be satisfactory unless made by
men especially qualified in placing values.

* Newark, N. J.


L. P. Jerrard,* Jun. Am, Soc. C. E. (by letter). — The discussion Mr.
of this paper has brought out several points which may be cleared
up by further explanation. The writer's loose application of economic
terms has evidently obscured his argument in several instances. Mr.
King and Mr. Kelly both take exception to the statement : "The true
value of land is the ground rent capitalized." Inasmuch as land has
value because it is a source of ground rent, it would seem that the
market value should bear some definite relation to the amount of ground
rent. Such is not the case, in view of the fact that the ground rent
is subject to fluctuation, and market values discount the prospective
changes in the amount of ground rent. The intention was to bring
out the distinction between market value and a value based entirely
on ground rent capitalized, which was inaccurately designated by
the term "true value". The statement, "The basis of business values
is strictly economic, * * * but the basis of residence values has
a social element," is also challenged by Mr. King, who states that
the demand of wealthy people for pleasant residence sites is as strictly
economic as the demands of any business utility for land. The social
element referred to by the writer manifests itself in the demand of
people of lesser wealth to live as near as possible to the wealthiest class.
Of two residence sites, all other factors (such as schools and trans-
portation facilities) being equal, the one nearest the best residence
section of the community is ordinarily preferred. It would seem as
though this tendency is more sentimental than economic, but, in
either case, it was the distinction between business and residence
values which was intended to be made.

Mr. Kelly has brought up several points to which the writer must
take exception. To the deductions to be made from gross rentals in
computing ground rent Mr. Kelly would add, "A sinking fiuid charge
sufficient, when put out at interest, to cover the cost of the building
in a given number of years." This charge is covered by the item
"annual depreciation" which was included in the list of deductions.
"Advantages of location govern the values entirely." By "values", as
used in this statement, is meant values in general, or unit values,
which would eliminate the factors of shape and size suggested by
Mr. Kelly. He also suggests as a factor governing values, "utility",
but does not utility depend entirely on location? Land has greater
value when utilized for business purposes than for residence property;
but it cannot be used for business purposes imless it is in the business
section of a community, and even then its value depends on its par-
ticular location within the business section.

Mr. Kelly understands the writer to say that the greatest number
of people pass through the heart of the city. Possibly he has in mind

* Chicago, 111.




the statement, "retail stores gather at the heart of the city" where
the largest number of prospective customers will pass. It is frequently
true, as Mr. Kelly states, that the greatest number of people pass some
railroad terminal or ferry landing, but they are hurrying to and from
tlieir work and are not "prospective customers." It may be interesting
to note that such corporations as the United Cigar Stores Company,
and F. W. Woolworth Company, before locating one of their stores,
make a careful investigation, not only of the number of people passing
a prospective location, but of their wants, buying power, and inclination
to buy at that point. It is possible that a cigar store would flourish
at a terminal where no one would find time to patronize a five and
ten-cent store. A traffic count might show a great number of people
passing a certain corner, but, if they were mostly factory girls and
women, it would not augur well for a cigar business. ; .

Railroad Yards

Eaili'oad Tards

1 Eailroad Stations

2 Hotels

3 Post Office

4 Department Store

5 Public Library

6 Churches

7 Catholic School

8 Hospital





Shaded Area Ttepresents
The Business Section

Fig. S.

''The retail section moves in the direction of the best residence
section." It is true, as Mr. Kelly suggests, that local conditions some-
times alter or retard this tendency, but the tendency persists never-
theless. The writer noted an interesting situation recently in Water-
town, S. Dak. The sketch. Fig. 8, is from memory only and not accu-
rate, but illustrates the situation approximately. The business section is
separated from the best residence section by a zone of public buildings,
churches, and other permanent institutions, which must form a sub-
stantial barrier to the extension of the business section in that direc-
tion. To the west and north, where there is room for the expansion


of the business section, there is nothing more attractive to business Mr.
than railroad yards and river bottoms. The tendency of retail business '''^"^'^'^■
to reach out toward the best residence section seems to be illustrated
by the location of a large department store, the best in the city, on
the edge of the business section, but on this side most convenient to
the best residence district.

Mr. Walker speaks of the Somers system of assessing cities, with
the aid of community opinion. In fixing the point of greatest value
at 100%, and determining the value of all surrounding frontage
in percentages thereof, as explained by him, it would seem that all
errors which may be introduced are cumulative. If an incorrect
relative value is established for any block, the error is reflected in
a series of blocks the values of which are relative to the one in error.
The writer has seen evidence of the partial failure of the Somers
system in this respect, and has also noted that, in the public meetings
and discussions, the principal efforts are made by those land owners
who are most directly interested, and that the conclusions are likely
to be biased in their favor.

Mr. Rankin has introduced some interesting and pertinent data
with regard to the value of the best business land in cities. With
respect to the discrepancy between the points plotted by Mr. Rankin
and the curves advanced by the writer (Fig. 2), the following influences
are suggested as regards Mr. Rankin's data :

1. — Population of cities does not include tributary suburbs (men-
tioned by Mr. Rankin) ;

2. — Undue optimism which frequently prevails among real estate
dealers regarding land values;

3. — Difficulty of determining, in the business districts of a city,
values which are free from corner influences.

All these factors would tend to throw the points plotted by Mr.
Rankin away from the curves. Part of the data on which these curves
were based, are here submitted, and also sho-\vn in Fig. 9. Mr. Alfred
D. Bernard, in "Some Principles and Problems of Real Estate Valua-
tion", states as follows :

"In a normal city for populations above 50 000 the value of the best
retail business property is one cent per front foot per person.

Best Land

"City. Population. per Front Foot.

Boston 1 500 000 . $15 000.00

Philadelphia 1 500 000 15 000.00

Baltimore 650 000 6 000.00

"Baltimore has a large negro and low wage earning population and
values are below normal. Cleveland, Louisville and Minneapolis will
prove the rule."





Mr. Richard M. Hurd* has given the figures reproduced in Table 9.

From miscellaneous sources, including some of the writer's own
determinations, city assessments by the Somers method, and opinions
of real estate dealers, the data in Table 10 have been collected.




Best business per
front foot.

270 000
205 000
203 000
169 000
164 000

163 000
134 000
132 000
102 000
90 000

90 000
85 000
81 000
62 000
54 000

53 000
37 000

$5 000

1 700


2 500

2 500

Kansas City

2 500

St. Paul

1 800



1 800

2 000


2 000

Portland, Ore

1 600


2 000

1 800


2 000

1 500

Salt Lake City

1 400


1 000



25 000
50 000
100 000
150 000
200 000
300 000
600 000
1 000 000

$300 to $400

600 to 1 000

1 200 to 2 000

1 500 to 2 500

1 800 to 3 000

2 500 to 4 500
4 000 to 7 000
7 000 to 10 000



Boston, Mass ,

Cleveland. Ohio. .
Milwaukee, Wis...
Indianapolis. Ind.
Des Moines, Iowa.

St. Paul, Minn

Minneapolis, Minn

Superior, Wis

Racine, Wis

Madison, Wis


1 000 000
580 000
420 000
250 000
94 000
230 000
325 000
45 000
40 000
30 000

Value of best business
per front foot.

$15 000
5 500
3 000
2 000

2 500

3 500

2 000

In Mr. Thomson's opinion, this paper suggests in too strong a
manner that the engineer is a better authority on real estate than
the real estate man. There is no implication that the engineer has
• In "Principles of City Land Values."



any place in the general field of the real estate business, which includes Mr.
platting, buying, selling, renting, and managing property, and the '^"^^ '
question pertains only to making land valuations. In valuation, it
is felt that some of the work of real estate men is inaccurate, and that,
in many cases, some effort should be made to cheek the appraisals
submitted by them. This is especially the case in smaller cities. As
an indication that many valuations made by real estate men are in
error, the writer may cite the frequent instances of wide variations
in the valuation of the same property by different appraisers. The
writer has had some experience, in cities of less than 50 000 population,
in obtaining two valuations of the same property from the same man
at intervals of several weeks or months. It is not uncommon to find

15 000


A.D. Bernard.Normal City

Richard M. Hurd-Average City

Bernand )c
Hurd o
MiscellaneoOB •





ront Fo



















4 000
2 000






/ «,,



.'* 3r^


100 000 goo 000 300 000

iOOOOO 500 000 600 000 700 000 800 000 900 000 1000 000


Fig. 9.
considerable variation in the results in such cases. If a deliberate
attempt is made to confuse the real estate man by argument, or by
introducing units of value with which he is unfamiliar, a very wide
variation in results may be obtained under the same circumstances.
In all these cases, an effort was made to obtain the services of the best
informed man in the community.

Some organizations, which require land valuations to be made in
different cities, proceed in the following manner: A complete record
of real estate sales is obtained from abstractors and from public records.
The services of a local real estate man are obtained, and he states what
unit of value is most familiar to him, such as the lot, square foot, or
front foot. The sales data are then reduced to the same unit and



Mr. plotted on a map, together with information collected as to the extent
of improvements on properties sold, assessment records, etc. The
map is then turned over to the expert, who studies the situation and
makes the valuation of the land in question. Satisfactory results are
obtained in this manner. The experience of such organizations has
been that, if the data are not provided for the expert, he will not obtain
all of them, nor will he reduce them to the form in which they are most
applicable to the problem. If the information is expressed in units with
which he is unfamiliar, he cannot readily understand it or convert it to
another unit. It is not unlikely, in cases such as these, that the man
who collects and prepares the data becomes as familiar with the
values involved as the local expert, but, in a contest, the local expert
is the only one who can qualify as a witness.

A true real estate expert is a man who has had experience in land
values, good judgment of actual conditions, foresight into tendencies,
freedom from prejudice, and natural honesty. The field is one for
a specialist, but it has not been developed outside of the largest cities.
The average real estate dealer is not a trained man. He does not
systematically collect and classify data with regard to values. He
is not familiar with the different units of value, or with the graphical
representation of data on the maps. He is hampered most of all by
the fact that he is a trader in real estate, and must be a "booster", in
order to make his living. Aside from books by the representatives
of several large mortgage and bond companies, and the work of certain
men engaged in taxation problems, the literature on the subject of
land valuation is meager. In the writings of real estate dealers, terms
such as "plottage", are rarely defined, and are used in a contradictory
manner by different authors. Under the circumstances, the writer
feels that the engineer in charge of a valuation may sometimes find
occasion to investigate with his own staff the item of land, without
encroaching on a field adequately covered by men of another profession.




This Society is not responsible for any statement made or opinion expressed
in its publications.

Paper No. 1393


By R. E. Bakenhus, M. Am. Soc. C. E.

With Discussion by Messrs. T. Kennard Thomson, J. J. Yates,
J. R. McClintock, S. B. Williamson, Waldo C. Briggs, Charles
S. BiLYEU, W. E. Day, Robert Ridgway, George W. Fuller,
A. H. Rhett, Marshall W. Brown, Albert Larsen, W. Watters
Pagon, R. J. Wig and Lewis R. Ferguson, and R, E. Bakenhus.


This paper describes a test of twenty-four concrete specimens
which were immersed in sea water for 7 years. The object of the
tests was to determine the action of sea water on concrete specimens
of wet and dry consistencies, of various proportions of ingredients,
and of different brands of cement, as well as the effect of special

The methods of mixing, analyses of the various cements, sand,
and stone, and the conditions of the test, as well as all other data
having possible effect on the results, are stated in the paper. The
information is given in tabular form where possible.

The specimens were examined at intervals of about one year, and
record was made of their condition. The results of these observations
have been tabulated, and show progressive deterioration of some of
the specimens and remarkable durability of others. Recently, the
specimens were examined with great care, and graded in the order
of durability. These results are also tabulated. Independent tabula-
tions are made of the various series of tests originally planned, to

* Presented at the meeting of January 3d, 1917.


ascertain in one case the eifect of wet and dry mixture, in another
case the effect of rich and lean mixture, and in others the effects of
special brands of cement, and of using lime, Sylvester wash, etc., with
the cement.

The results are interesting, and seem to show, briefly:
(a) That the 1:1:2 mixture is superior to the 1 : 2^ : 4^, and that

the 1 : 2^ : 4^ is, in turn, superior to the 1:3:6;
(h) That the wet mixtures are superior to the dry;

(c) That the effects of magnesia or alumina in varying propor-
tions are not very marked, and follow no apparent law,
although the two most durable specimens are those lowest
in alumina content;

(d) That extra care in mixing produced decidedly beneficial
results ;

(e) That hydrated lime was of no benefit, but rather a detriment;
(/) That the addition of Sylvester wash was harmful; and

(g) That the addition of clay to the cement had a slightly bene-
ficial result.

The deterioration occurred between high and low water, and was
most marked at mid-tide. Above high water there was little deteriora-
tion, and the same is true, but to a less marked extent, of the concrete
continually submerged.

A careful reading of the paper should be made before any of
the foregoing conclusions are applied. The experiments are not suf-
ficiently extensive to warrant drawing final conclusions in all cases,
unless confirmatory evidence is available. In utilizing the results,
the limitations of the tests and local conditions should be taken into

About 7 years have elapsed since twenty-four concrete specimens
were placed in sea water at the Boston Navy Yard. The results, on
careful analysis, give information of considerable value. This paper
presents a resume of the important facts in regard to the preparation
of the specimens, the recorded observations at stated periods, and a
tabulation and discussion of the results to date.

The various facts and observations connected with the tests are
given in full, so that those who wish may study them and draw their


own conclusions. Those who are sufficiently interested may observe
the specimens at the ITavy Yard. In the latter part of this paper the
principal results of the tests are summarized, and the conclusions of
the writer are stated, without attempted explanation, however, as to
the causes of the different kinds of action on the concrete specimens.

The expense of making the tests is borne entirely by the Aberthaw
•Construction Company, of Boston, who proposed them and entered
into agreement with the Navy Department, represented by the late
Fred Thompson, M. Am. Soc. C. E., Civil Engineer, U. S. Navy. The
agreement (Appendix A) covers the conditions of the tests whereby
the specimens were permitted to be made and exposed in the Navy
Yard, all work being under the inspection of the Civil Engineer, now
Public Works Officer, of the Yard, and the Navy Department having
the right to observe the specimens and to use the information obtained.

Each of the twenty-four specimens is 16 ft. long and 16 in. square,
weighing from 4 060 to 4 350 lb. They are hung on Pier 9, at the
Boston Navy Yard, in such a manner that the lower ends are contin-
ually immersed, the upper ends but rarely immersed, and the center
portions are subject to alternate action of the air and salt water due
to the 10-ft. tides.

The specimens were originally suspended, in February, 1909, from
the old Pier 9, but, as this was rebuilt, they were moved on December
5th, 1911, to Pier 8, east side. Later, it became necessary to renew
the supporting bridles, and, on September 19th and 20th, 1912, the
specimens were removed and leaned against the quay wall and on
October 30th and 31st, 1912, were moved to the newly constructed
Pier 9. The piers are of open wooden pile construction, giving the
sea water a free flow. About April, 1914, a pipe line for furnishing
fuel oil to naval vessels was placed on Pier 9, and since then the
concrete has become coated with a thin film of fuel oil. The sea water
is that of Boston Harbor, analyses of which will be given. Fig. 1
is reproduced from a photograph showing the specimens as suspended
from Pier 9 in April, 1916.

The specimens were lifted out of the water on December 9th and
10th, 1913, for the purpose of photographing them, and were imme-
diately replaced.

The following description of the manufacture of the specimens
is taken from the file copy of the records made at the time:

Online LibraryAmerican Society of Civil EngineersTransactions of the American Society of Civil Engineers (Volume 81) → online text (page 52 of 167)