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Samuel Washington McCallie.

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

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tempted. The road leading from Clayton to Clarkesville, was.
formerly a toll-road, and is now a fair county-road, though in
places it has steep grades. Materials for road-building in Rabun
county are abundant and widely distributed. They consist of
granite, gneiss, hornblende-schist and trap rock. The gneisses are
the most common, available for road-purposes. They are found
in all parts of the county, and are generally compact and fine-
grained. Hornblende-schists are also abundant. Dr. Francis P.
King, formerly Assistant Geologist on this Survey, speaks of this-
rock's being found more or less plentiful, in the northeastern part
of the county, in the vicinity of Laurel Creek. Trap rock has
been seen by the writer at only one place in the county. This ex-
posure is at the Smith Gold mine near Burton, in the western part
of the county. The trap here occurs in the form of a small dike,,
only a few feet in thickness. A large deposit of this same stone is
reported to occur on the road to Tennessee valley, about 2 5^ miles-
north of Clayton.

Rabun county, in the last few years, has constructed three iron
bridges at a cost of $6,000. The roads are worked, on an average,,
about six days each y^r. They are said to have been much im-
proved in the last few years.



HABERSHAM COUNTY

Area, 347 square miles ; total road-mileage, 300 ; 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.

Habersham county is generally mountainous, and the cost of
constructing roads with easy grades throughout its several districts,.



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112 EQUIPMENT, METHODS AND MATERIALS, BY COUNTIES

would involve the county in an enormous debt The question of
constructing passable roads through the more mountainous por-
tions of Habersham has been agitated for years. In the early for-
ties, a number of turnpikes were projected for this county, and a
few of them were actually built White, speaking of them in his
Statistics of Georgia^ says : "The Unicoy turnpike road tuns from
North Carolina to Clarksville, forty miles, crossing the Blue Ridge.
There is also a turnpike from Major Logan's, at Loudsville across
the Blue Ridge through Tesnatee gap, seven miles long; which
cost $3,000. It pays a good interest on the investment, and is
chartered for thirty years." These roads have all, since, passed
out of the hands of the stock companies ; and now they constitute
a part of the public-road system of the county, kept up entirely
by statute labor. The highways of Habersham at present are in
a fair condition considering the hilly nature of the county, and
the system, under which they are maintained. This is especially
true of all the main thoroughfares, such as the Nacoochee, the
Toccoa, the Tallulah and the Demorest roads. Were it not for the
unusually steep grades of these several roadways, in places, they
would compare favorably with the roads in the more level coun-
ties of the State. Each individual, subject to road-duty, is said to
work, on an average, about six days per annum. Most of this
time is put in, on general repairs, and but little work of a perma-
nent nature is attempted. The result of this method of road-
working is that the highways remain practically the same, from
year to year.

The road-building materials of Habersham county are the usual
crystalline rocks, common to the Crystalline area. The gneisses
are the most abundant, and are most widely distributed. Trap
rock (diabase) occurs in the vicinity of Toccoa and Tallulah. It
is also reported to occur in other portions of the county; but it
was examined only at the above named localities. One of the
best exposures of this class of rock examined by the writer occurs
in a cut on the Southern Railway about two miles northeast of
Toccoa. The rock appears here in the form of four well-defined



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EQUIPMENT, METHODS AND MATERIALS, BY COUNTIES 123;.

dikes, one large, and three small ones. The smaller dikes, which
vary from a few inches to three feet in thickness, are all well ex-
posed in the cut ; while the large or main dike crosses the railroad
in a fill near by, but is to be seen in a small ravine, a few rods
south of the road, where it has a thickness of many feet. This
main dike can be traced, as a more-or-less continuous outcropping,
in a northwest direction for several miles. It is well exposed at
Toccoa creek, a few miles northwest of Toccoa, where it gives rise
to rapids in that stream. At several points along the line of out-
cropping between the Southern Railway and Toccoa creek, are
many exposures, where the weathered boulders are so abundant,
as to render the cultivation of the soil impracticable. The trap
occurring in the vicinity of Tallulah seems to be the northwest
extension of the dike. A microscopic study of the specimens of
this rock taken from the dikes on the Southern Railway shows it
to be a typical olivine-diabase. It varies from an exceedingly
fine- to a medium coarse-grain. Some specimens show a slight
tendency to a porphyritic structure, due to the presence of large,
stout crystals of plagioclase; though most of the plagioclase
crystals are small and needle-like.

The olivine is very abundant, and is often present in well formed
crystals, which occasionally show an advanced stage of serpentin-
ization. The specimens from the smaller dikes diflFer from the
specimens taken from the larger dikes, only in having a finer
texture or a closer grain. The rock is extremely difficult to break,,
and apparently possesses all the other qualities essential to a first-
class road material. Its proximity to the railroad, together with its
extent, makes the trap, here exposed, one of the most valuable de-
posits of this class of rock in the State.



WHITE COUNTY

Area, 170 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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1^4 EQUIPMENT, METHODS AND MATERIALS, BY COUNTIES

White county is hilly, and the public roads often have steep
grades. The road materials of this county are abundant. They
consist of granites, gneisses and schists. There is also much gravel
along the streams, well suited for road-surfacing. The roads are
worked, on an average, only about five days each year; and they
are frequently in bad condition, during the winter and early spring
months.

The streams of the county are rapid, and are rarely bridged.
The fords are generally rocky, and frequently dangerous, especially
when the streams are swollen.



LUMPKIN COUNTY

Area, 267 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.

Topographically, Lumpkin county is quite mountainous, and
the cost of building roads of easy grades throughout its several
districts would necessarily be very expensive. The majority of
the leading thoroughfares were located, many years ago, during
the early gold excitement in that region ; and but little attention
seems to have been given to the question of grades. In order to
establish first-class roads in Lumpkin county, as well as in the
majority of the other mountainous counties of North Georgia, it
is essential, that the roads, in many cases, should ^ re-located.
This would not only reduce the cost of construction, but it
would at the same time greatly lessen the expense of maintenance.
The several roads radiating from Dahlonega, the county-seat, were
nearly all originally badly located, and, in most cases, they will
probably remain unchanged. No modem practical highway-
-engineer would attempt any permanent improvement on these
roads, until they are surveyed and re-located.

The clays of Lumpkin county, which originate chiefly from the



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EQUIPMENT, METHODS AND MATERIALS, BY COUNTIES 135

breaking down of the gneisses and schists, are usually of a red
color. They make good roads, as long as they are dry and well
drained ; but, in the winter and early spring, they often become
almost impassable.

The streams of the county are numerous and rapid. The larger
ones are generally crossed by wooden bridges, which are not always
kept in the best repair. The county at present owns one iron
bridge, erected at a cost of $3,5CX).

The roads of the county are kept up entirely by statute labor.
They are worked, on an average, seven days each year ; but much
of this time is idled away.

The road-building materials are chiefly gneisses and schists.
There is also, in some places, granite, which appears as intru-
sions, mostly in the form of small dikes. It is usually coarse-
grained, and poorly suited for road-metal. The following is a de-
scription of two diflFerent varieties of schist, of very common occur-
rence in Lumpkin county, g^ven by Dr. Thomas L. Watson, in
the report on the Gold Deposits of Georgia : — *

"No. 4. Locality — The dump-pile of the Moore and Cannon
cut. Singleton mine.

Quartz-Amphibolite {Hornblende-Schist). This is a rather
coarse-grained, dark-colored, speckled rock, with a decided schistose
structure, when viewed from one side. Otherwise, it appears to be
perfectly massive. Hornblende, quartz and pyrite are discernible,
megascopically ; the pyrite, however, only in occasional small
particles.

Microscopically, the rock is composed principally of common
green hornblende, quartz and epidote, with some pyrite and cal-
cite. The hornblende is mostly prismatic and fibrous in outline,
although allotriomorphic grains occur, in which both cleavages
are well developed. The epidote occurs in irregular small grains,
scattered through the interlocking quartz grains.

No. 27. Locality — An exposure along the road, at the Hand
mine.



Geological Survey of Georgia, Bui. No. 4— A, A Preliminary Report on a Part of the Gold
Deposits of Georgia ; pp. 324 and 327.



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1^6 EQUIPMENT, METHODS AND MATERIALS, BY COUNTIES

Mica (Muscovite-Biotite) -Schist. Megascopically, the rock is
medium-grained, very light-colored, and rather finely banded.
Quartz, miiscovite and biotite are visible. Microscopically, the
rock consists essentially of quartz, biotite and muscovite. Some
feldspar, more or less altered, with numerous small grains of
epidote, are found scattered through the section.

The two micas are intimately associated, and are present, in
about equal proportions. Both are drawn out into long, narrow
strips, which are grouped into layers, arranged in the direction of
their longer diameters. The greater part of the rock is made up
of quartz, which forms irregular-shaped grains."

Both these varieties of schist are very abundant in the vicinity
of Dahlonega. The former is often associated with gold-bearing
rocks, and is called, by the miners, brick-bat^ from its peculiar
mode of weathering. It is very hard ; and, when massive, it makes
an excellent road material.

Gravel is found, more or less plentiful, in all the streams. Espe-
cially is this true of those streams, which have been worked for
gold. In many places, there are to be seen great heaps of gravely
ready for use on the roadway.



DAWSON COUNTY

Area, 192 square miles ; approximate road-mileage, 375 ; nutn-^
ber of miles of graded road, o ; number of miles of macadam-
ized road, o ; amount of money annually raised for public-road pur-
poses, o. Hands work, on an average, about nine days each year..
The roads are constructed and maintained by statute labor.

Topographically, Dawson county is broken ; and in places it
becomes quite mountainous. The construction of first-class roads
in the county will always be an expensive undertaking, on ac-
count of the cost of grading. The county is well supplied with
granite, gneiss etc., suitable for road-surfacing. Hornblende-
schist is quite abundant in this county ; at many places, when de-
composed, it gives rise to the red hills. Trap rock is reported



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EQUIPMENT, METHODS AND MATERIALS, BY COUNTIES 137

at a number of localities in the county ; but its extent and mode
of occurrence have not been investigated. The roads of Daw-
son county, at the time of the writer's visits, were found to be
in fair condition, for a hilly district. Some of the roads, in places,
have very steep grades; but, in many cases, these difficulties could
be overcome by re-locating the roads ; while in others, expensive
grading would have to be resorted to, in order to construct first-
class roadways with easy grades.

The citizens of the-county appear to be satisfied with the present
system of road-maintenance ; or, at any rate, the question of chang-
ing their plan seems not to have been generally discussed.



FORSYTH COUNTY

Area, 297 square miles; approximate road-mileage, 150; num-
T)er 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.

The roads of Forsyth county are worked, on an average, about
five days each year; and, as a consequence, they are not always
in first-class condition. The surface of the county is generally
hilly, and the roads, in places, have steep grades. This defect,
however, in many places, could be easily overcome by the re-loca-
tion of the roads.

The road-building materials of the county consist of granites,
gneisses, hornblende-schists and trap rock. The last named rock
is said to be found in large quantities along the Chattahoochee
river, in the eastern part of the county. It is also reported to
occur in the northern part of the county.

The Ordinary, in speaking of the method of road-maintenance
now in force, says : * * Our roads are worked under the old road
law. In my opinion, the new law would prove more satisfac-
tory."

Forsyth county has constructed, in the last few years, three ex-
cellent iron bridges, at a total cost of about $10,000.



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138 EQUIPMENT, METHODS AND MATERIALS, BY COUNTIES

HALL COUNTY

Area, 497 square miles ; approximate road-mileage, 500 ; num-
ber of miles of road graded, o ; number of miles macadamized, o;
amount raised for public-road purposes, o. The roads are con-
structed and maintained by statute labor.

The highways of Hall county, at the time of the writer's visit,
were found to be in fair condition, considering the system, under
which they are maintained. There appears to be considerable in-
terest manifested throughout the county for the betterment of the
highways ; and it seems to be only a question of time, when the
county will levy a special highway tax, and the roads will be kept
tip, by means of hired or convict labor. Dr. E. E. Dixon, Chair-
man, Board of Roads and Revenues, in speaking of the roads of
Hall county, says: "Our present system is imperfect. We are
trying to work up a sentiment to move up on a better system."

The road-building materials of Hall county are granite, gneiss,
hornblende-schist and trap rock. The first three varieties of rock
are quite abundant throughout the county ; while the latter is lim-
ited to a few localities. One of the best exposures of trap rock in
the county occurs on the old federal road about eight miles south
of Gainesville, and five miles east of Flowery Branch. It occurs
here in large quantities on the surface in the form of rounded bowl-
ders, which vary in size from a few inches to several feet in diam-
eter. The rock is exposed at no place in situ. However, judging
from the large number of bowlders on the surface, the dike must
be several feet in thickness. A similar dike, or probably a con-
tinuation of the same one, is exposed near the Southern Railway
two miles south of Gainesville. The outcropping here is also in
the form of bowlders of disintegration, which are frequently of
large size, and so abundant, in places, as to seriously aflFect the cul-
tivation of the soil. A specimen of the rock (Museum No. 1,654),
secured from this exposure, was shown by microscopic examination
to be oli vine-diabase, or a true trap rock, the best known material
for road-surfacing. The rock is fine-grained and of a dark-g^ay



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EQUIPMENT, METHODS AND MATERIALS, BY COUNTIES xTfj

color, and consists of plagloclase, augite and olivine. Other ex-
posures of trap rock are reported, both in the eastern and western
part of the county ; but they were not examined. The trap dike,
spoken of above, near the city limits of Gainesville, seems to offer
an excellent opportunity for that city to secure the best of material
for street macadam at small cost.



BANKS COUNTY

Area, 359 square miles ; approximate road-mileage, 2CX); num-
ber of miles of graded road, o ; number of miles of macadamized
road, o ; amount of money raised annually for public-road pur-
poses, o. The roads are constructed and maintained by statute
labor ; and hands work, on an average, three days each year.

The highways of Banks county are reported by the Ordinary,
Mr. T. F. Hill, to be in poor condition. It is practically impossi-
ble to maintain first-class dirt roads, in any hilly section of the
country, like Banks county, by statute labor, when the number of
working days is so small.

Road materials are abundant in Banks county. They consist of
granite, gneiss and probably trap rock. The latter, however, has
not been examined ; though it has been reported to occur in sev-
eral localities.



FRANKLIN COUNTY

Area,* 359 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 purposes,
o. The roads are constructed and maintained by statute labor.

Franklin county lies wholly within the Crystalline area. The
surface is rolling, and the soils are mostly clays. The roads are
generally in fair condition, considering the method, under which
they are maintained.

Road-building materials are plentiful. They consist mainly of
granites, gneisses and trap rock. The granites and gneisses are
often fine-grained, and well-suited for road -surfacing.



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140 EQUIPMENT, METHODS AND MATERIALS, BY COUNTIES

Trap rock occurs in a large, more or less continuous dike, trav-
ersing the county in a northwest-and-southeast direction. This
dike seems to be a continuation of the one intersecting the South-
ern Railway near Toccoa. Good exposures of it are to be seen
four miles northeast of Carnesville, on the road leading to Lavo-
nia; also, on the Elberton Air-Line Railroad, two miles northwest
of Martin station. Between these two points, are numerous other
outcroppings, where the rock occurs in considerable abundance in
rounded bowlders in the woods and cultivated fields. The thick-
ness of the dike varies from a few yards to several rods. Near the
main dike, are to be seen, in places, small dikes running parallel
with it. The smaller ones are often only a few inches in thick-
ness.

The following is a description of a specimen of the rock, taken
from the largest dike : —

Museum No. 1,655 — Olivine- Diabase,

Locality — Seven miles northwest of Carnesville, on the public
road to Toccoa.

Megascopically, this is a rather coarse-grained, dark-gray rock,
in which the needle-like crystals of plagioclase are quite conspic-
uous. There is also to be seen on a fresh fracture large angular
grains or imperfect, glistening crystals of plagioclase, which give
to the rock a somewhat porphyritic structure. Microscopic exami-
nation shows, that all the original mineral constituents, with the
exception of magnetite, have commenced to undergo alteration.
Many of these plagioclase crystals are more or less completely
kaolinized. . The augite is undergoing uralitization, or changing
into hornblende; while the olivine has been converted, in a great
measure, into serpentine. A few plates of biotite were noticed in
the section.



HART COUNTY

Area, 381 square miles; approximate road-mileage, 400; num-
ber of miles of graded road, o ; number of miles of macadamized
road, o ; amount of money annually raised for public-road pur-



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EQUIPMENT, METHODS AND MATERIALS, BY COUNTIES 141

poses, $2,500. The roads are constructed and maintained by
statute and free hired labor.

The surface of Hart county is generally much broken ; and the
cost of constructing first-class highways with easy grades is neces-
sarily great.

The materials of the county for road-building are abundant and
quite generally distributed. They consist of granite, gneiss, horn-
blende-schist and trap. The last-named rock is reported as occur-
ring at several localities in the county in large quantities.

The roads are at present being kept up by means of statute and
free labor. They are reported to be in fair condition. The county
levies a special tax, of one mill on the dollar, for road purposes.
The amount collected from this source is about $2,500. This
amount is used for the payment of hands employed on the roads.
Each person, subject to road-duty in Hart county, is required to
pay a commutation-tax of $1.60, or work on the public roads four
days annually. The present system of road-working in this county
has been in operation only a short time, and its merits have not
yet been tested.

ELBERT COUNTY

Area, 406 square miles; approximate road-mileage, 600; num-
ber of miles of graded road, several ; number of miles of macadam-
ized road, o; amount of money annually raised for public-road
purposes, not ascertained. The roads are constructed and main-
tained by statute and convict labor.

Elbert county lies in the northeastern part of the State, wholly
within the Crystalline area. Its surface is usually rolling, and the
highways in places have steep grades. The crystalline rocks suit-
able for road purposes including granites, gneisses, trap etc., com-
mon to the Crystalline area, are both abundant and widely distrib-
uted. Typical specimens of the granite, which occurs in this
county, may be seen at the quarries near Elberton, where the stone
is extensively worked for monumental and building purposes. The
stone is medium fine-grained, has great strength, and is well suited



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142 EQUIPMENT, METHODS AND MATERIALS. BY COUNTIES

for macadam. Trap rock is reported as occurring at several local-
ities in the county ; but it was examined at only one place, namely,
on E. B. Heard's property near Blue Branch, some seven miles
east of Elberton. The trap occurs here in two small dikes, neither
of which has a thickness of more than four feet. Both dikes are
well exposed in the embankment on either side of the public road.
They are only a few feet apart, and correspond in dip and strike
to the enclosing gneisses and schists. These dikes can be traced
for some distance through the cultivated fields, by the weathered,
rounded bowlders lying on the surface.

A specimen of the trap rock (Museum No. 1,603) » taken from the
exposure on the roadside at Blue Branch, is a fine-grained, dark-
gray, olivine-diabase, weathered into the usual characteristic
rounded form. The individual minerals are diflScult to make out,
without the use of a lens. Examination in thin sections under
the microscope, shows an unusually large amount of olivine, which, •
in places, has partly altered into serpentine. The plagioclase
occurs in the form of long needles and as short stout crystals.
The latter are not abundant. The augite is present in the form of
plates and irregular masses, filling up the interstices between the
feldspar crystals. It rarely shows any distinct cleavage lines.
Magnetite and chlorite are both present. The former mineral
occurs in considerable abundance, usually as crystals. It would
be a difficult matter, to find a rock better suited for road-surfacing
than the trap here described.

Another rock (Museum No. 1,627), well-suited for road*purposes,
occurs at the Pearl cotton-mills, six miles east of Elberton. This
is a medium fine-grained, dark-green, massive diorite, with a few
large, conspicuous crystals of green hornblende. The other min-


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Online LibrarySamuel Washington McCallieA preliminary report on the roads and road-building materials of Georgia → online text (page 11 of 22)