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Samuel Washington McCallie.

A preliminary report on the roads and road-building materials of Georgia online

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portion of the macadam has been obtained from the loose stones
and gravel upon our mountain-side. The crushed stone makes
much the better road, much smoother and firmer, for the reason,
that, being comparatively soft, it makes a cement of itself.

''The average number of convicts, who have been worked dur-
ing that time, was, for the first seven years, 35, and for the last
five years, 45 ; and, as I said before, the total cost has been $116,-
000 for twelve years.



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I20 EQUIPMENT, METHODS AND MATERIALS, BY COUNTIES

"It may be interesting to you, if I state the increase in the
taxable value of property in the county of Floyd. That is not a
wealthy county ; yet, in 1881, the taxable property was four and
three-fourths millions, and, in 1893, it was $9,043,389. You will
therefore see, that along with this road improvement, there has
been an increase of nearly 100 per cent, of taxable value, besides
the addition of ease and comfort to those, who travel over the
road. In Floyd county, the custom has been, during the spring,
summer and fall months, to work the convicts along the highways,
where they could be in the neighborhood of the camp. In the
winter months, when the weather is somewhat more severe, they
are put in permanent houses near the corporate limits, and work
in and about the city ; so that they do not have to go very far
from their place of sleeping to their place of work."

Since the address of Mr. Smith before the road conference at
Asbury Park, there has been practically no material change in the
method of road-working in Floyd county. Besides the chain-gang,
statute labor is also employed in the county. All the main road-
ways in the distant part of the county, and some of the less im-
portant ones in the vicinity of Rome, are kept up entirely by
-statute labor.

During the summer of 1897, the writer in company with Mr.
Norris Smith, formerly of the U. S. Geological Survey, examined
a number of the leading highways radiating from the city of
Rome, which had been constructed by the county chain-gang.
These hardened ways, as a general rule, were found to be in ex-
cellent condition; but, in places, the grades were rather steep
^nd the alignment was bad. Some of these roads, in places, should
have been re-located before any grading or macadamizing was
attempted. This would have added not only to the beauty of the
roadways ; but, at the same time, it would have reduced the cost
-of construction. The materials used in surfacing these roads are
limestones, shales, chert and gravel, all of which have wide dis-
tribution in Floyd county.

Of these several materials, probably the limestones are the most



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EQUIPMENT, METHODS AND MATERIALS, BY COUNTIES 121

durable and suitable for general road-construction; but, at the'
same time, it is more expensive than either of the other materials,
on account of the cost of preparation. The gravel and the chert,
and also the shale, are generally put down with little or no prepa-
ration ; but the limestone has to be crushed. The economic use
of these several materials depends, in a great measure, upon their
proximity to the road to be surfaced. For instance, it would not
be economy to haul limestone a mile or so, if shale or gravel could
be had at a less distance.

In addition to the improvement of the roadways, Floyd county,
in the last few years, has constructed ten iron bridges at a total
cost of $75,000. The money expended for road-purposes is raised
by an assessment of an eighth of a mill on all taxable property.
No commutation- tax is assessed.

The road-working outfit cost several thousand dollars. It con-
sists of one complete portable rock-crushing plant, one road-ma-
chine, scrapers, plows, quarrying tools, blacksmith's tools, a camp-
ing outfit, 22 mules, wagons etc.

The chain-gang is under the direction of a superintendent, who
receives a salary of $50.00 per month. There are also regularly
employed three guards, each paid $30 per month. The number
of convicts now employed in the county chain-gang varies from
40 to 75. Some of the convicts are hired from other counties, the
prices paid being from $2.00 to $4.00 each, per month.



BARTOW COUNTY

Area, 491 square miles ; approximate road-mileage, 500 ; num-
ber of miles of graded road, 20 ; number of miles of macadamized
road, 5 ; amount of money annually raised for public-road pur-
poses, not ascertained. The roads are constructed and maintained
by statute labor.

The highways of Bartow county were kept up, in a great meas-
ure, by convict labor, for a number of years previous to 1898.
During the time this system of road- working was in operation.



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122 EQUIPMENT, METHODS AND MATERIALS, BY COUNTIES

from fifteen to thirty convicts were regularly employed ; and from
$6,000 to $7,000 was annually raised for public-road purposes.
But, on account of mismanagement, or for some other reason, the
system was abandoned, as expensive ; and statute labor was again
instituted. Many of the leading thoroughfares, radiating from
Cartersville, the county-seat, were kept in good condition by the
convicts during the time the new road law was in operation; but,
since the abandonment of the system, these roads are said to be
poorly maintained. The writer has been informed, that there is
now a growing sentiment in the county in favor of re-establishing
the chain-gang system of road-improvement.

Bartow county has constructed in the last few years two excel-
lent bridges at a cost of $15,000.

The road-materials are abundant. They consist of limestones,
schists, chert and gravel. The limestone and chert are the most
widely distributed, and are the best suited for road-surfacing.

Topographically, Bartow county may be considered hilly ;
although there are no very marked obstacles in the way of road-
building. The hills and ridges are generally well rounded, and
the valleys are broad. The streams are numerous ; but they are
mostly small, and are not expensive to bridge. The soils are
chiefly red clays, which make good roadways, as long as they are
properly drained and kept dry.



POLK COUNTY

Area, 330 square miles ; approximate road-mileage, 200 ; num-
ber of miles of graded road, o; number of miles of macadamized
road, o; amount of money annually raised for public-road pur-
poses, o. The roads are constructed and maintained by statute
labor.

Polk county lies mainly within the Paleozoic area ; and, as a
consequence, it has abundance of limestone and chert suitable for
Toad -surfacing. Topographically, the northwestern portion of the
county is somewhat rugged, due to the presence of chert hills and



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EQUIPMENT, METHODS AND MATERIALS, BY COUNTIES 123

ridges. The northern portion is more or less level, with low, well
rounded hills and ridges. The same may be said of the southern
portion of the county, with the exception of the region in the
vicinity of Lime Branch Post-oiEce, where the cherty ridges be-
come quite prominent and the surface is much broken. The topo-
graphic features of the county as a whole present no very serious
problems in the way of road-building.

Dr. J. W. Spencer, formerly 5tate Geologist of Georgia, in speak-
ing of the roads of Polk county, says : ' ''Throughout Polk county,
the valley roads have often good grades ; but, over the ridges, they
are often steep. The roads over the slaty formation are usually
good. Those over the decayed limestone formations are liable to
be cut into deep ruts during the wet seasons. The roads over the
chert formations are more certain. Owing to the various distribu-
tion of chert and limestone, valuable material for road-making
would be available in many places." Besides the limestones and
cherts, above mentioned, there are also at many places local beds
of impure iron ore and gravel deposits, well suited for road-surfac-
ing. The highways of Polk county are in fair condition. They
are kept up at present entirely by statute labor. The number of
days annually worked on the road by persons subject to road-duty
is reported to be about ten. This is more Ihan the average for the
State ; and it accounts for the good condition of the roads.

The county in the last two years has constructed two iron
bridges, valued at ^3,000.



HARALSON COUNTY

Area, 269 square miles; total road-mileage, 200; number of
miles of graded road, o ; number of miles of macadamized road, o ;
amount of money annually raised for public-road purposes, o.
The roads are constructed and maintained by statute labor.

Topographically, Haralson county is generally hilly, and the
roads, in places, have steep grades. Gneisses and schists are the

Geological Survey of Georgia ; First Report>f Progreaa, i89o-'9i, p. laS.



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. 124 ^-QUJPMENT, METHODS AND MATERIALS, BY COUNTIES

prevailing rocks of the county. Massive quartz, resulting from the
breaking down of quartz veins, and diorite also occur. The latter
is a dark, speckled rock, usually very tough, and well suited for
road-metal.

But little interest seems to have been manifested in the county,,
so far, in the betterment of the highways. The county has in the
last few years constructed four iron bridges at a total cost of $12,-
cxx); but, otherwise, there has been little or no money expended
upon the roadways. The roads are kept up solely by statute labor.
Each person, subject to road-duty, is said to work on the public
roads, on an avers^e of six days per annum.



PAULDING COUNTY

Area, 340 square miles ; approximate road-mileage, 250 ; num-
ber of miles of graded road, o ; number of miles of macadamized,
road, o; amount of money annually raised for public-road pur-
poses, o. The roads are constructed and maintained by statute
labor.

Paulding county is hilly ; and the roads often have steep grades.
Many of the leading thoroughfares are poorly located, and need to
be re-surveyed before any permanent improvement is attempted.
Road materials of fair quality are plentiful. They consist of gran-
ite, gneiss, schist and diorite. The gneisses and schists are espe-
cially abundant and widely distributed; while the granite and
diorite occur in large exposures ; yet, they are more local in their
distribution. The following is a description of a typical specimen
of Paulding county diorite, taken from a cut on the Southern Rail-
way, one mile west of Dallas. The exposure, from which the
specimen was obtained, extends for some distance along the rail-
road, and is evidently the denuded outcropping of a huge dike,
having a total thickness of several hundred feet. The rock occurs
in layers, some of which seem to be quite massive ; while others
are distinctly schistose. The prevailing color is black-and-white-
speckled, though some of the layers are almost black, due to the



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EQUIPMENT, METHODS AND MATERIALS, BY COUNTIES 135

superabundance of hornblende present. The texture is usually
fine ; yet all the essential mineral constituents can be made out,
without the use of the lens.

Microscopically, the rock is seen to consist of hornblende, plagi-
oclase, quartz, epidote and pyrite. The hornblende, which is the
most abundant mineral, has a pale-green color, and appears in the
form of irregular crystals and plates with numerous inclusions of
epidote.

Many of the crystals of hornblende show prismatic cleavage.
The plagioclase is poorly striated and polarizes in low colors. It
occurs in irregular grains, which, like the quartz, frequently ex-
hibit irregular extinction. The rock has a schistose structure ;
but otherwise it has all the characteristics of a first-class road-sur-
facing material.

Hornblende-schist is of common occurrence in Paulding county.
Several exposures of this rock are seen in the railroad cuts between
Dallas and Hiram. It is often too distinctly laminated for good
Toad-material. Both the diorite and the hornblende-schist occur
in narrow belts or zones, which sometimes continue for long dis-
tances without interruption. They always conform in strike and
dip with the associated rocks.



CHEROKEE COUNTY

Area, 409 square miles ; approximate road-mileage, 500 ; num-
her of miles of graded road, o ; number of miles of macadamized
road, o ; amount of money annually raised for public-road pur-
poses, from $1,500 to $3,000 ; number of days worked on roads
«ach year, 5. The roads are constructed and maintained by statute
labor.

Cherokee county is generally rolling, and the highways in
places often have steep grades. The materials for road construc-
tion are quite abundant, and well distributed throughout the
county. They consist of gneisses, hornblende schists and crys-
talline limestonef The two first named varieties of rock are very



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126 EQUIPMENT, METHODS AND MATERIALS, BY COUNTIES

abundant, being found more or less plentiful in every district.
They are generally fine grained and well suited for macadam.
The hornblende rocks are especially abundant in the southern
portion of the county, where they give rise to the red hills of that
section. The crystalline limestone or marble is quite local in its
distribution. It occurs chiefly in the vicinity of Mable Station
and Ball Ground, in beds of considerable thickness. The limited
distribution of this rock prohibits it from ever becoming of general
use for road-construction. Besides the above named rocks, large
quantities of massive quartz in the form of angular fragments are
also of common occurrence. These quartz rocks, which have orig-
inated from the breaking down of the quartz veins in the schists
and gneisses, are often used for road-surfacing, when no other
better material is at hand.

Cherokee county has, in the last few years, constructed five iron
bridges at a total cost of about $18,000.



PICKENS COUNTY

Area, 276 square miles; approximate road-mileage, 500 ; num -
ber of miles of graded road, o ; number of miles of macadamized
road, o; amount of money annually raised for public-road pur-
poses, o ; number of days worked by road hands each year, 3. The
roads are constructed and maintained by statute labor.

Topographically, the greater portion of Pickens county is
mountainous. This is especially true of that part of the county
lying east of Long Swamp creek, where Glassy and other moun-
tains attain an elevation of more than 3,000 feet above the sea-
level. The roadways are often steep ; but otherwise they are kept
in fair condition for trafiic.

The road materials are granites, gneisses, schists, hornblende
rock and marble. The last named road-building material is found
in great quantities in the eastern part of the county, along Long
Swamp creek, where it is now being quarried in great abundance,.
for building and ornamental stone. These marbles are usually



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EQUIPMENT, METHODS AND MATERIALS, BY COUNTIES 127

coarse-grained, and, as a consequence, rather poorly suited for
road-surfacing. However, the large amount of waste about the
quarries in the form of spalls, fissured blocks etc., makes this
material of local interest in road-construction. Associated with
the marble and often penetrating it, as intrusive masses, occurs
the hornblende rock, amphibolite. This rock, which is abundant
in the vicinity of Marble Hill, is a very tough, dark-colored rock,
made up of dark -green hornblende and quartz. It is an excellent
road material. Similar rocks are reported as occurring in other
portions of the county ; but their extent and character have not
been investigated. The most common and widely distributed
rock in Pickens county, suitable for road-building material is the
gneiss.

The Ordinary of the county, in speaking of its highways, says :
"Our roads are worked in the old way by statute labor, under
commissioners and overseers. The system seems to be satisfactory
to the people."

GILMER COUNTY

Area, 452 square miles ; total road-mileage, 200 ; number of
miles of graded road, o ; number of miles of macadamized road, o ;
amount of money annually raised for public-road purposes, o.
The roads are constructed and maintained by statute labor.

The surface of Gilmer county is generally hilly, and the roads
in places often have steep grades. The road materials are plenti-
ful, and quite generally distributed throughout the county. They
consist of gneisses and schists, with an abundance of massive
quartz. Extensive beds of slate and conglomerate also occur;
but neither is well suited for road-surfacing.

The highways of Gilmer county are maintained solely by statute
labor. Each individual, subject to road-duty, is said to work on
the highways, on an average, about six days each year. The
roadways are reported to be in fair condition throughout the
county ; and the system, under which they are maintained, seems
to be satisfactory to the majority of the people.



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128 EQUIPMENT, METHODS AND MATERIALS, BY COUNTIES

FANNIN COUNTY-

Area, 409 square miles ; approximate road-mileage, 200 ; num-
ber of miles of graded road, o ; number of miles of macadamized
road, o ; amount of money annually raised for public-road pur-
poses, o. The roads are constructed and maintained by statute labor.

Fannin county is situated in the extreme northern part of the
State. Its surface is quite mountainous. Many of the higher
ridges and peaks attain an altitude of more than 4,000 feet above
sea-level. The construction of first-class roads with easy grades
in Fannin county is both diflBcult and expensive. During the
early history of the State, applications were frequently made to
the Legislature for aid in building passable roads throughout
these mountainous districts. The chief roadways of the county
are usually located along the streams. The ridges are generally
crossed at the lowest gaps ; but, even then, the ascents and de-
scents are frequently quite precipitous. The streams are usually
rapid and rarely bridged. When swollen by heavy rains, they
become torrents, dangerous to cross and destructive to bridges,
unless they are securely constructed. The writer, during a visit
to this county, some three years ago, found many of the leading
highways in good condition, considering the ruggedness of the
country, and the system under which they are maintained. The
roads of the county are worked, on an average, only about five
days each year. The present system of road- working seems to be
generally satisfactory to the public ; consequently, there is not
likely to be any change soon in the method of highway-improve-
ment. Fannin county has an abundance of gneiss, schists, massive
quartz etc., suitable for road-surfacing.



UNION COUNTY

Area, 325 square miles; approximate road-mileage, 150; num-
ber of miles of graded road, o; number of miles of macadamized
road, o ; amount of money raised for public-road purposes, o. The
roads are constructed and maintained by statute labor.



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EQUIPMENT, METHODS AND MATERIALS, BY COUNTIES 129

There is probably no county in the State, which presents more
obstacles in the way of highway-construction, than Union. This
is due largely to the unusually rough and mountainous condition
of the surface. The great cost of building good roads throughout
the country has, in a measure, retarded the development of its
natural resources. The county is naturally rich in minerals, tim-
bers, water-powers etc. ; but they are rendered valueless, to a great
extent, by reason of the poor condition of the highways. The
value of good roads has been fully realized by all the leading citi-
zens of the county, for many years. This is shown by the organiza-
tion of the following companies : The Union Turnpike Company, in-
corporated in 1834, to extend a turnpike from Loudsville, White
(then Habersham) county, through the Tesnatee Gap by way of
Blairsville to some point on the northern boundary of the State.
The Union, Lumpkin and Habersham Company, incorporated in
1 84 1 for the purpose of constructing a road from Maj. Francis Lo-
gan's in Habersham county by way of Tesnatee Gap to James HalPs
in Union county. The capital stock was $8,000, divided into shares
of $25 each. The Union and Lumpkin County Turnpike Com-
pany, organized in 1843, t<^ build a road from Jonathan Oxford's,
Lumpkin county, via Tesnatee Gap to James Hall's in Union
county.

The object in organizing these companies was to construct toll-
roads through the sparsely settled mountainous districts, where
statute labor was insufficient to keep the roads in a passable con-
dition.

The county Ordinary-, in speaking of the condition of the roads
in Union county, says : " We keep up our roads by statute labor.
The method is very unsatisfactory. Our roads are bad. They
should be worked by taxation, the only system, by which public-
roads can be kept in a good condition."

The roads are worked, on an average, about five days each year.
Many of them, especially those crossing the higher ridges, have
steep grades ; and in the winter they become almost impassable for
Jieavy traffic. The streams are rapid ; and, when swollen by heavy



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130



EQUIPMENT, AfETHODS AND MATERIALS, BY COUNT/ £S



rains, they become impassable. There are but few bridges in the
county, and these are not always kept in good condition.

The road materials are granites, gneisses, mica- and hornblende-
schists and massive quartz, the last resulting from the breaking
down of quartz veins. The gneisses are widely distributed. They
are probably the most valuable rock to be found in the county, for
general road-purposes.



TOWNS COUNTY

Area, 180 square miles; approximate road-mileage, 100 ; num-
ber of miles of graded road, o ; number of miles of macadamized
road, o; amount of money annually raised for public-road pur-
poses, o ; number of days worked on the public-roads each year, 5.
The roads are constructed and maintained by statute labor.

Towns county is quite mountainous, and the construction oi
roads with easy grades is quite costly. The majority of the road-
ways are poorly laid out, and should be re-located before any g:rad-
ing or any other work of a permanent nature is undertaken.

The road materials are granites, gneisses, schists and trap.
Gravel also occurs in considerable abundance in the streams.

As a general rule, the roads of the county are steep, and are
rarely kept in good condition. It would require an enormous
amount of money to construct first-class roads with easy grades
throughout Towns county, on account of the mountainous and
rough condition of the surface.



RABUN COUNTY

Area, 464 square miles ; approximate road-mileage, 300 ; num-
ber of miles of graded road, o ; number of miles of macadamized
road, o ; amount of money annually raised for public-road pur-
poses, o. The roads. are maintained and kept up by statute labor.

Rabun county lies in the extreme northeastern corner of the
State. Its topographic features are distinctly mountainous.
The streams are numerous and rapid, and when swollen by rain



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EQUIPMENT, METHODS AND MATERIALS, BY COUNTIES 131

or melting snow, are very dangerous to ford. The main thorough-
fares of the county generally follow the streams in the narrow val-
leys. In places, the grade of the roads are unusually steep, as may
be seen in the road leading from Clayton to Laurel Creek. Such
roads should be re-located before any expensive repairs are at-


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Online LibrarySamuel Washington McCallieA preliminary report on the roads and road-building materials of Georgia → online text (page 10 of 22)