Samuel Washington McCallie.

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

. (page 12 of 22)
Online LibrarySamuel Washington McCallieA preliminary report on the roads and road-building materials of Georgia → online text (page 12 of 22)
Font size
QR-code for this ebook

erals are indistinguishable by the unaided eye. Microscopically,
the rock is seen to be made up of hornblende, feldspar and quartz,
with a few scattering grains of epidote and chlorite. The horn-
blende is very abundant, making up fully 90 per cent, of the en-
tire rock mass. It occurs mostly in the form of irregular crystals,
which often show prismatic cleavage. Both the green and brown

Digitized by



varieties are present. The former is massive and resembles very
closely the chlorite, with which it is always associated. The feld-
spar and the quartz, which are very unevenly distributed through-
out the section, occur as irregular grains. Magnetite and pyrite
are both present; neither, however, is abundant. This rock,
which appears in the form of a huge dike or intrusive mass, is very
abundant in the vicinity of the Pearl cotton-mills, where it gives
rise to the fall, that furnishes the power for operating the mill.
The rock in places is slightly schistose. Otherwise, it is an ideal

Elbert county has recently adopted the new road law ; and now
it regularly employs, on an average, about 25 convicts on its high-
ways. The cost of maintaining the chain-gang, together with the
other expenses connected with the present system of road-working,
is met by the assessment of a special road-tax of one mill on the
dollar on all taxable property, and a commutation-tax of $2.00 on
each individual subject to road-duty. The rated money-value of
a day's labor, in settlement of the commutation-tax, is placed by
the County Commissioners at 25 cents.

The road-equipment of Elbert county consists of two Champion
road-machines, wagons, scrapers, 15 mules etc. There is consider-
able interest manifested throughout the county in the improvement
of the highways ; and it is thought, that the present system will
give general satutfaction.


Area, 300 square miles; approximate road-mileage, 500; 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.

Madison county has an abundance of granite, gneiss, schist etc.,
suitable for road material. Trap rock is also reported as occurring
in different parts of the county ; but the localities were not visited
by the writer. The roads of the county are said to be in fair con-

Digitized by



dition. They are worked, on an average, aboat sx days eacii year
by the road-hands. The surface of the coonty is hilly, and the
grades of the roads are c^en steep.


Area, 382 square miles ; approximate road-mileage, ^izS ; nnm-
ber of miles of graded roads, o; number of miles <^ macafdanxized
roads, o ; amount of money annually raised for public-road pur-
poses, o. The roads are constructed and maintained by statute

Topographically, Jackson county is hilly, and the public roads
frequently have steep grades. The rocks suitable for road mate-
rials are granite, gneiss, hornblende-schist, diorite and trap. The
three first named varieties of rock are widely distributed through-
out the county, and are frequently well exposed on the sides of
many of the leading thoroughfares. The general distribution of
these rocks reduces to a minimum the cost of placing them on the

Good exposures of diorite are to be seen in this county on the
Athens road about eight miles south of Jefferson. It occurs here
in a belt several feet in thickness, interlaminated with the schist.
The rock is massive, dark-gray, and has a uniform texture. In
the natural outcropping, there is to be seen a slight tendency to-
ward schistose structure. This structure, however, is not no-
ticeable in hand specimens.

Microscopically, the rock is seen to be made up of green horn-
blende, feldspar and a sprinkling of quartz. The hornblende is the
most abundant constituent. It is present as large irregular plates
and imperfect crystals. The latter often exhibit distinct prismatic
cleavage. The feldspar is well preserved and distinctly striated.
Trap rock is reported at several places in the southern part of the

-) (■

Digitized by




I \

> ^

S o

= S:













Digitized by


Digitized by





Area, 450 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-
poses, o. The roads are constructed and maintained by statute

Gwinnett county is located near the center of the Crystalline
area in the northern part of the State. Its surface is hilly. The
road materials consist mainly of gneiss and trap rock. The former
rock, which is similar to the Lithonia gneiss, is reported, by Dr.
Thos. L. Watson, Assistant Geologist, to occur in large quantities
in the vicinity of Snellville, Rosebud, Loganville and Winder.
This is a light-colored, fine-grained contorted gneiss, fairly well
suited for road-surfacing. Dr. Watson also reports the occurrence
of trap rock, in the form of a large dike, within the corporate lim-
its of Lawrenceville. This rock is said to be found at other places
in the county; but its extent has not been investigated. The
schists, both the mica and the hornblende varieties, are widely dis-
tributed throughout the county. The latter will doubtless be
found of value in road-surfacing in many localities. Massive
quartz, resulting from the breaking down of quartz veins, is also
of common occurrence.


Area, 115 square miles ; approximate road-mileage, 75 ; 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 Milton county is usually hilly, and the cost of
constructing good roads with easy grades is expensive.

The County Ordinary says : ** We have our roads worked, and
they are in very good shape, at this time. We have some steep
grades, that could be helped considerably by being graded down ;
and we are expecting to do some work in that direction soon. I

Digitized by



^m satisfied, we could get our people interested in the improve-
ment of our public highways, so that they would put in full time
-at work, while on the roads. The result would be very gratifying,
and, in a short time, all our leading thoroughfares would be greatly

The road-building materials are abundant, and quite generally
•distributed throughout the county. The most common are the
jgranites, gneisses and schists. Diorite, and possibly trap rock, is
also found.


Area, 379 square miles; approximate road-mileage, 300; num-
ber of miles of graded road, 10 ; 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 and
free labor.

The roads of Cobb county are kept up mainly by statute labor ;
but each year there is also a limited amount of grading and gen-
•eral road-improvement carried on, by means of hired labor. The
•expense for the hired labor is paid out of the geujeral county fund,
there being no special road-taxes levied. The most of the grading
so far done is in the vicinity of Marietta, where the roads in places
have been greatly improved, by cutting down the hills and lessen-
ing the grades. It is thought, that this method of working the
Tiighways will become general throughout the county, when the
people more fully understand its improvement over the old system.

The road-building materials of Cobb county are plentiful, and
quite generally distributed. They consist of granites, gneisses,
hornblende-schist etc. A good quality of granite, suitable for
road-surfacing may be seen at the Hames quarry on the east side
-of Kennesaw mountain. The rock is a fine-grained, light-colored
granite, made up largely of quartz. The feldspars are fresh and
undecomposed, a condition characteristic of all light, durable
:granites. The hornblende-schists and diorites are very common
in Cobb county. They give rise to the red soil, so commonly met

Digitized by



with throughout the county. All these schists, when not too dis-
tinctly laminated, make excellent material for road-surfacing.
This class of rocks is exposed in many of the cuts on the Western
& Atlantic Railroad between Marietta and Acworth. Another
variety of rock, which has a considerable local use for road-surfac-
ing, is a saccharoidal quartz, occurring within the corporate lim-
its of Marietta. It is well exposed, in the excavation near the
National Cemetery, where it has been more or less extensively
quarried for the drive-ways in the cemetery. The rock occurs in
layers, varying from a few inches to a foot or more in thickness ;
and it has all the appearance of a highly metamorphic sandstone.
It is granular, and easily crushed into a coarse sand, which makes
an excellent surfacing-material, for side-walks and drive-ways. A
large exposure of a similar rock occurs on the Western & Atlantic
R. R., a short distance south of Vining station.

Trap rock is reported, as occurring in the northern part of the
county ; but the locality has not been visited. Massive quartz, re-
sulting from the breaking down of quartz veins, is frequently
abundant in the cultivated fields. It has had a limited use for fill-
ing quagmires.


Area, 178 square miles; approximate road-mileage, 150; num-
ber of miles of graded road, o ; number of miles of macadam-
ized road, o ; amount of money annually raised for public-road
purposes, o. The roads are constructed and maintained by statute

The surface of Douglas county is generally hilly ; and the road-
ways in places have steep grades. The main thoroughfares of the
county are in a fair condition for common earth roads, considering
the system, under which they are maintained. The best roads in
the county are probably those in the vicinity of Lithia Springs,
where they are used more or less for pleasure drives by the guests
of that famous resort. These roads usually have fair grades ; but
in places they are quite sandy. This defect, however, could

Digitized by



be easily overcome by crowning the roads and cpvering their
surfaces with a thin layer of clay, which is everywhere pres-
ent. These sands, which are also frequently seen in the road-
ways in the vicinity of Villa Rica, have originated from the dis-
integration of a medium coarse-grained gneissoid granite, which
is found, more or less abundant, in several localities throughout
the county. Besides these gneissoid granites, there are also many
other rocks, which would make fair material for road -surfacing.
Probably the most valuable of these rocks for road purposes is the
quartz-diorite, occurring in the vicinity of Winston. This rock
weathers into a red saprolite, which may be seen in the fields as
fertile soil, immediately north of the Winston depot. Specimen
No. 1,577 of the Museum catalogue, was obtained from a cut on the
Southern Railway, about half-a-mile west of Winston, where the
rock is exposed to the depth of 20 feet or more. The rock at this
exposure is more or less schistose, and so decomposed, that it is difli-
cult to get even a hand specimen sufliciently fresh for microscopic
study. The rock is dark-gray ; and it is occasionally traversed
by parallel seams of light-colored quartz, which give to it a lam-
inated appearance. The texture of the rock is so fine, that it is
diflicult !o make out, by the unaided eye, any of the different min-
eral constituents except hornblende. Microscopic examination of
the rock in thin sections shows it to be made up of hornblende,
quartz and plagioclase, with magnetite, pyrite and chlorite as
minor accessories. The hornblende is the most abundant con-
stituent. It occurs in irregular, elongated masses, with their
longer axes parallel. This rock, which is met with at several
places in the county, would make an ideal road-surfacing material,,
if it were not so distinctly laminated.


Area, 549 square miles ; approximate road-mileage, 600 ; num-
ber of miles of graded road, o ; number of miles of macadamized
road, o; amount of money annually raised for public-road pur-

Digitized by



poses, o. The roads are constructed and maintained by statute

The surface of Carroll county is generally rolling, and the soils
are mostly clayey ; but in certain districts, which are traversed by
belts or zones of granite, the soils partake of a sandy nature. The
soils of the last named character extend over a considerable area
in the vicinity of Villa Rica, where the public roads are often
somewhat sandy. As a general rule, the soils of the county might
be said to be favorable for the construction of dirt roads. The
surface of the county, though undulating, presents no difficult
problem in locating roads of easy grade. Many of the roads, in
places, at present have steep grades. However, this defect, in
most cases, can be easily corrected at a small cost by re-locating
the roads.

The road materials of Carroll county, which consist of gneisses,
granites, schists and trap, are all, except the last named rock,
abundant and widely distributed. Trap rock was found at only one
place in the county, namely, near the Chattahoochee river a short
-distance north of Whitesburg. The rock occurs strewn about the
cultivated fields in limited quantities, and evidently comes from a
small dike traversing that part of the county. It is more than
probable, that the dike, from which these float-boulders are de-
rived, is the northern extension of the large dike traversing Coweta,
Meriwether and Talbot counties.

The public roads of Carroll county are kept up at present by
statute labor ; but it was learned, that this system is soon to be
abandoned, and a special tax raised, for maintaining the highways.
Carroll county has erected no steel or iron bridges, owns no road
machinery, and has apparently done but little toward making
improvements of a permanent nature on its public ways. For
the last few years, the roads have been worked, on an average, of
only about five days per annum ; and, as a consequence, they are
not in the best condition.

Digitized by




Area, 230 square miles ; approximate road-mileage, 230 ; num-
ber of miles of graded road, o ; number of miles of mBcaLdsLxnized
road, o ; amount raised for public-road purposes, o. Tlie roads
are constructed and maintained by statute labor.

The Chairman of the County Commission of Roads and Reve^
nues of Campbell county, in speaking of the condition of its roads,
says : '* We have just such roads as we had 100 years ag^o ; ot
rather, 100 per cent, worse, because we have 500 per cent, more
vehicles to travel over them.*' Many of the leading public-spirited
men of the county have become very much dissatisfied with the
present system of road-working ; and the time seems to be near at
hand, when a different method of road-improvement 'will be
adopted. A gradual improvement of the roads, by taxation, is
strongly advocated by the Chairman of the Board of Commission-
ers. The first roads to be improved, according to his plan, are
the principal highways of travel, radiating from the county-seat.
These are to be gradually extended to the county-line or to the
chief centers of trade, after which the roads of lesser importance
are to be improved, in like manner.

Campbell county lies wholly within the Crystalline area; and,
as a consequence, it has an abundance of granite, gneiss etc., suit-
able for road-surfacing.


Area, 166 square miles ; approximate road-mileage, 300 ; num-
ber of miles of graded road, 140; number of miles of paved and
macadamized road, 85 ; amount of money annually expended on
the highways, from $75,000 to $140,000. The roads are con-
structed and maintained by convict and statute labor.

Fulton county has done more in the last few years toward the
betterment of its highways, than any county in the State. Other
counties may justly lay claim to a greater mileage of improved
highways; yet none can equal Fulton in the excellence of the

Digitized by



construction and the durableness of its roadways. Such thorough-
fares as the Peach tree and Manchester roads are ideal roadways, not
only for traffic, but also for pleasure driving, and for wheelman as-
well. The construction of these roads, together with several other
similar roads, radiating from the city of Atlanta, has cost the
county, in the aggregate, more than half-a-million dollars. This-
seems to be a large sum of money to expend in the construction of
less than a hundred and fifty miles of roadway. Nevertheless, if the
high class of roads constructed is taken into consideration, and also
the uneven or hilly surface of the country, through which they
pass, it will be seen, that the money has not been lavishly ex-

Many of these roads required an immense amount of grading,,
which, in some instances, cost more than $io,(xx) per mile. They
are all amply wide, varying from forty to sixty feet and having
gentle grades. The side drains, in places, are paved with stone,
and the culvert and cross drains or water-ways are constructed of
granite or the best hard-burnt tile. The hardened surfaces, which
vary from 7 to 12 inches in thickness, are often forty feet wide..
This gives more than 2o,cxx) superficial square yards of road-sur-
face per mile, and explains, in a measure, the unusual cost of the
roadways. Much of the materials, with which these roads were
.surfaced, was chert, brought from Northwest Georgia or Alabama ;:
and, in some instances, it had to be hauled considerable distances
by wagons and carts before it was laid down on the roadway. The
cost of the chert alone, used on the Manchester road, which has a
total length of six and a half miles, was more than $50,000.

The present system of improving the highways of Fulton county
by means of convict labor was inaugurated in 1876 by Judge Daniel
Pitman, then County Ordinary. At that time, all the main tho-
roughfares radiating from the city of Atlanta, as well as many of
the principal streets, were in a deplorable condition for traffic, dur-
ing the winter and early spring months. One writer, in speaking
of the condition of the streets and roads during that time, says :.
•'There were places in the center of the city, where a four-horse

Digitized by



team could not pull a light wagon ; and what was true of the city,
was still more so of the country. " To ameliorate these conditions,
Judge Pitman organized the first chain-gang, of fifteen convicts.
This small and inadequate force was unable to do much, at first,
except to carry on general repair- work. Nevertheless, the experi-
ment demonstrated the practicability of this method of road-im-
provement. The system soon grew in favor ; the working force
was gradually increased ; and improvement of the highways at the
same time became of a more permanent and lasting nature. Thus,
from an insignificant beginning was evolved the present very com-
plete and perfect system of highway-improvement.

The Fulton chain-gang, as now organized, consists of about 359
convicts. These convicts are under the direct management of a
superintendent, appointed by the County Commissioners. The
superintendent, in turn, appoints all the overseers, guards etc. ;
and he is held solely responsible by the Commissioners, for the
condition of the force of convicts under his charge ; and, also, for
the efficiency of the work executed. The following table shows
the number of employees of the Department of Public Works of
Fulton county, exclusive of the convicts for March, 1899, together
with the salary of each per month : —

I Superintendent % 166.70

I Assistant Superintendent 100 00

I Book-keeper 65.00

3 Overseers 60 00

I Woodsmith and Foreman 75.oo

I Blaster and Foreman 60.00

3 Blacksmiths 50.00

31 Guards 3750

34 Teamsters 20.00

The amount of money annually expended upon the public roads
of Fulton county depends, in a great measure, upon the amount
paid for surfacing material. Last year, the total sum paid out for
all purposes aggregated approximately $90,000. This estimate
would probably be an annual average of the expenditure on high-
way-improvement for the last few years. The actual cost of main-

Digitized by






K 'I i»^

8 I 5




I 1 ^


I !
8 '
I '




C 1


Digitized by


Digitized by



taining each convict, including board, clothing, guarding etc., is
placed by the superintendent at $12.00 per month. Many of the
convicts are hired from other counties.

The subsistence account of each convict, as. shown by the annual
report of the superintendent for 1899, was only 8 J^ cents per day.
This appears to be an unusually low allowance for laboring men
engaged in hard work ; yet it must be borne in mind, that the
greater part of the foodstuffs consumed are raised upon the convict
farm, and the price placed upon them is the actual cost of produc-
tion. In speaking of the economic importance of this well regu-
lated and judiciously managed farm, Superintendent Donaldson
says: "We produce on it much we eat, and in a word, if a wall
was built around us, we would have nearly all of the requirements
for a comfortable living."

Besides the farm, together with its necessary equipment, Fulton
county owns the following outfit used in highway-improvement : —

Carts 152

Derricks (lo-ton) 2

Horses 3

Mules 161

Plows 7

Rollers (steam, lo-ton) 2

Road-machines (Champion) . . ^ 2

Road Sprinklers i

Rock-crushers (Champion) 2

Tools (Quarry) 2 sets

" (Woodworking) i **

'* (Blacksmithing) 3 *'

Tents 16

Wagons 66

In working the roads, the chain-gang is usually divided into
two or more camps, which are moved from place to place as the
work requires. In addition to these movable camps, there is a
permanent camp, or what is called the county barracks, located on
the convict farm, where the convicts are housed during the winter.
These barracks are well constructed, and have all the conveniences
of a well regulated prison.

Digitized by



In addition to the chain-gang, Fulton county also employs
statute labor on its highways. All persons, subject to road-duty,
are required to work the road five days each year, or pay a commu-
tation-tax of $2.50. Many of the less important roads, in the
remote parts of the county, are kept up entirely by statute labor-
All the hardened ways, so far constructed by the Fulton county
chain-gang, may be divided, for convenience of description, into
three classes, namely, the macadamized road, the chert road and
the rubble-stone road.

The Macdamized Roads^ as they are now being constructed by
the convicts, consist of four layers. The first or bottom layer »
which has an average thickness of four or five inches, is made of
broken stones, having a diameter, in their greatest dimension, of
about four inches. These stones usually consist of field-stone, or
some other inferior rock, taken from the roadbed in grading. As
the stone is removed from the excavation, in grading, it is gener-
ally distributed along the prepared roadbed, and broken by hand
to the desired size. The stones of the second layer are reduced to
2 yi inches in diameter. This layer has a thickness of about 3
inches, when compressed by rolling. The stone used in this layer
is generally more durable than that used in the basement layer,,
and is commonly prepared by the rock -crusher. The third layer
has about the same thickness as the second ; but the stones, of

1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 12 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22

Online LibrarySamuel Washington McCallieA preliminary report on the roads and road-building materials of Georgia → online text (page 12 of 22)