Samuel Washington McCallie.

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

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o. The roads are constructed and maintained by statute labor.

Topographically, Fayette county, like all the other counties in
the Crystalline area of Georgia, is hilly ; and, in many places, the
roads have steep grades. At present, they are kept up by statute
labor, as above stated ; but the system is said to be unsatisfactory,
and is soon to be abandoned. The Chairman of the Board of Road
Commissioners informed the writer, that a special tax of about 2
mills on the dollar would be raised during this year ' for public-road
purposes, and that it was their intention to begin working the roads
by hired labor in the fall. The roads of the county are reported
to be in fair condition, considering that they are worked on an
average of only six days each year.


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The material for road-surfacing, consisting of granites, gneisses
and schists, are abundant, and are quite generally distributed
throughout the county.

Under the present system of road-working in Fayette county, a
-day's labor is valued at fifty cents.


Area, 506 square miles ; approximate road-mileage, 600 ; num-
ber of miles of graded road, several ; number of miles of macadam-
ized roads, 2 ; amount of money raised annually for public-road
purposes, $5,cxx>. The roads are constructed and maintained by
statute and free labor.

Ther^ has been considerable interest manifested in Coweta
-count)', within the last year or so, looking towards the betterment
of its highways. The county now le\nes a special tax of i J^ mills
on the dollar for road purposes ; and it also exacts, of each male
inhabitant subject to road-duty, five days' labor annually, or a
-commutation tax of $2.00. The amount thus collected is distrib-
uted to the several districts of the county, where it is expended in
hiring hands, for keeping up and impro\4ng the roadways. Each
district has a superintendent, paid $1.00 per day, who oversees and
directs the laborers. The hired laborers receive each 50 cents per
-day for their services. The county has expended a considerable
-sum of money in the purchase of a road-working equipment. This
equipment consists of a road-machine, several scrapers, plows,
wagons etc. The teams for hauling etc. are usually furnished by
farmers, who are thus allowed to settle their special road- and

Several of the roads of Coweta county were examined by the
writer during the summer of i S99 ; and they were found to be in
fair condition for common countr\*-roads ; though, in many places,
the grades were quite steep. This defect, in some localities, could
be easily overcome, by re-locating the roads ; while in others, a con-
:siderable amount of grading would be necessarv-. The macadamiz-

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ing, SO far attempted in the county, consists of a few short stretches
of road, from 50 to 1,500 feet in length, in boggy or marshy places.
The material used for this purpose consists mostly of massive white
quartz, collected from cultivated fields. In most cases, the stone
is not broken to a uniform size, and, as a consequence, the surface
is rough and uneven.

Coweta county has an abundance of granite, gneiss, hornblende-
schist etc., suitable for road- material, besides a considerable quan-
tity of trap rock. The last named rock occurs in the form of a
large dike, traversing the county in a northwest-and-southeast di-
-rection. It is well exposed in a cut on the Central Railway, about
4 miles southeast of Newnan, and also on the Atlanta & West
Point Railroad, 3 J^ miles northeast of Newnan. At the former
place, it attains a thickness of about 100 feet ; while at the latter,
it is reduced to less than 10 feet. About half-a-mile south of the
point, where the dike crosses the Central road, is another large
exposure of trap rock. This exposure is on the public road, and
•occurs as four parallel dikes. Two of the dikes, which are only a
few rods apart, have a thickness, each, of about seventy-five feet.
Between these, and running parallel with them, are the two smaller
dikes. The trap rock at this place gives rise to a low ridge, the
•surface of which is strewn with innumerable boulders of all sizes,
from a few ounces to many tons in weight. These boulders have
been utilized, to a limited extent, in fence-building ; but they still
•exist in such abimdance, at many places along the ridge, as to ren-
der the cultivation of the soil impracticable. The rock exposed
in all the dikes is practically the same, differing only in texture,
it is a fine-grained, dark-gray trap (oliyine-diabase), quite tough, and
admirably suited for road-surfacing. There is an excellent loca-
tion for opening up a quarry, at the point, where the dike inter-
•sects the Central Railway.*

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Area, 290 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

The surface of Heard county is quite hilly, and some of the
public roads are remarkable for their numerous and steep grades-
One of the best examples of these poorly constructed roadways ex-
tends from Franklin, the county-seat, to Grantville, a distance of
about 17 miles. The road runs almost at right-angles to the
trend of the ridges and streams. In the original location of the
road, grades seem to have been entirely disregarded. Hills are
crossed at right-angles, when a more sinuous route, with a slight
increase in distance, would have gained the elevation required on
an easy grade. Roads of this character should, in all cases, be
re-located, before any work of permanent nature is done on them.

The majority of the roads of the county, with the exception of
the cross-country roads above spoken of, are in fair condition, and
compare favorably with the roads of other counties throughout
North Georgia, where the highways are maintained by statute
labor. Heard county in the last few years has constructed an ex-
cellent iron bridge across the Chattahoochee at Franklin at a cost
of $12,000. This speaks well for the county, and shows, that
there is considerable interest in the improvement of its high-

The road-building materials of Heard county consist of gneisses^
hornblende-schist and diorite. The gneisses are the most
abundant stones, suitable for road-surfacing, that occur in the
county. Good specimens of this variety of stone are to be seen
within the corporate limits of Franklin, where it has been usedta
a limited extent for building purposes. Hornblende-schist is more
or less abundant throughout the county. It is especially common
in the eastern part of Heard, near the Coweta county-line. The

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only exposure of diorite, examined in the county, occurs on the
public road at the Cookville High School. It occurs here in a
dike several feet in thickness. The dike is said to extend some
distance north and south of this point. The thickness of the dike
at the Cookville High School is about 150 feet. The rock is a
dark green-and-white-speckled massive rock, having a medium-
•coarse grain, and weathering into rounded boulders. Both the
feldspar and the hornblende are readily recognizable, megascopi-
■cally. Under the microscope, the rock is seen to be made up of
plagioclase and hornblende, with a small amount of augite and
-quartz. The plagioclase is present in the form of more-or-less
angular grains, and slightly elongated imperfect crystals. The
latter suggest the ophitic structure.

The hornblende occurs in irregular plates, of a pale-green color,
frequently marked with distinct cleavage lines. The rock seems
to possess all the qualities of a first-class road-metal.


Area, 493 square miles ; approximate road-mileage, 600 ; num-
ber of miles of graded road, o; number of miles of macadamized
Toad, o ; amount of money annually raised for public-road pur-
poses, not ascertained. The roads are constructed and maintained
by statute labor.

Topographically, Troup county is hilly ; and the highways in
places have steep grades. The Chairman of the Board of County
Commissioners, in speaking of the highways, says : "We adopted
the commutation-tax system three years ago, and are now getting
our roads in fine fix. This system will give us excellent roads, in
two more years.'' The amount of commutation-tax collected is
said to be about enough to pay the 12 supervisors, who receive
$1.00 each per day for their services, while actually engaged on
road-duty. The commutation-tax is $2.00. Thdse who refuse to
pay this tax are required to work on the public roads four days
each year.

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The road materials of Troup county are abundant, and are-
widely distributed. They consist of granite,, schists, diorite and
diabase. The following is a description of some typical speci-
mens of these different kinds of rocks i —

Museum No. 1,581 — Biotite-Granite,

Locality — The LaGrange and West Point road, 5 miles south-
west of LaGrange.

This is a dark-gray, medium coarse-grained granite, occurring,
in the form of huge boulders, frequently a rod or more in diameter.
Biotite, feldspar and quartz can be readily detected, megascopically..
In thin sections these minerals are seen to be quite fresh, and they
exhibit their usual well-known characteristics. Both the mica and
the feldspar show evidences of crushing, by the bent condition ofc
many of the crystals. Hornblende and calcite occur as accessories.
The former is found in the form of irregular crystals^or elongated,
masses, showing distinct cleavage. The biotite and hornblende
generally have a common orientation. However, this is not very
noticeable, megascopically.

Museum No. 1,586 — Quartz-Diabase.

Locality — Campus of the LaGrange Female College,, LaGrange^

This rock occurs abundantly at LaGrange in the vicinity of the
LaGrange Female Collie. It has been used, to a considerable
extent, in building retaining-walls and fences about the city. The
late Senator Ben Hill's former residence is partly enclosed by a
stone wall constructed of this material. It is well exposed in the
cuts of the street, on either side of the college grounds, where it
occurs in heavy beds interlaminated with the schists. In the col-
lege grounds, it is seen on the surface, as large,. somewhat rounded
boulders, with a slight tendency to schistose structure. This-
structure, however, is not noticeable in a hand specimen ; nor is it
revealed, microscopically, by the orientation of the minerals. The
rock is of a dark color; has a medium-coarse grain ; and weathers
into rounded boulders. Megascopically, hornblende, feldspar and
quartz are readily discernible. In addition. to» these minerals, the

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microscope reveals augite, epidote, magnetite and pyrite. The
hornblende is the common green variety, strangely pleochroic. It
occurs in large irregular masses, frequently exhibiting prismatic
cleavage. The augite is not so abundant as the hornblende. Its
mode of occurrence is quite similar to the latter mineral ; but it is-
readily distinguished by its non-pleochroism and by its angle of
extinction. Both plagioclase and orthoclase are found in nearly
equal proportions. Each mineral is quite fresh, and generally free
from inclusions. They occur in irregular grains. Comparatively
little quartz is present. Epidote is found in small rounded grains,^
pretty evenly distributed through the section.

Museum No. 1,588 — Dioriie.

Locality — Three miles north of West Point, on the road ta-

The rock occurs here in the form of a dike, fifteen or twenty feet
wide. It weathers into rounded boulders, characteristic of the
Georgia trap. The rock is massive, of a greenish-speckled color,.,
and very tough. Feldspar, hypersthene and hornblende are easily
recognized, megascopically. These minerals all occur in medium-
coarse grains, and are quite fresh.

Microscopic examination shows the rock to be holocrystalline, .
and made up of the minerals, plagioclase, hypersthene, horn-
blende, augite, epidote and magnetite. The plagioclase occurs,
as irregular grains and plates, with rather broad laminae. In-
clusions, both in the form of minute crystals and round bodies, .
are very abundant in the feldspar crystals. Hypersthene is the
most abundant of the ferromagnesian minerals. It is strongly
pleochroic, and is usually in the form of large irregular crystals,
or rounded grains, always surrounded by a margin of green com-
pact hornblende, which seems to bfe of secondary origin. There
are also plates of hornblende, showing well defined cleavage-lines.
This is supposed to be an original mineral. Augite is not abun-
dant. It is frequently surrounded by a margin of green hornblende.
Like the hypersthene, magnetite and epidote are both present in i
the form of grains. The latter is often associated with pyrite.

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Museum No. 1,590 — Norite,

Locality — In considerable abundance on the LaGrange and
West Point public road, five miles north of West Point.

This rock weathers into rounded boulders, and has a limited local
use, for building fences and retaining- walls. An examination of the
boulders, used in the fence on the roadside, showed, that they dif-
fer considerably in character. Some are quite massive and com-
pact ; while others are more or less laminated. Only one place
was found in the vicinity, where these rocks occur in situ. This
exposure is near the roadside, and is in the form of huge, somewhat
rounded boulders. From this place, the specimen for microscopic
study was taken. It represents the more massive variety found in
the stone fence. The rock is of a dark-green color, with numerous
black and white spots, due to large crystals of hornblende and
feldspar. Microscopically, the rock is seen to be made up of
hypersthene, plagioclase and secondary hornblende, together with
a few scattering grains of primary hornblende, magnetite and
pyrite. The hypersthene and the secondary hornblende occur in
nearly equal proportions. The former occurs in imperfect crystals,
distinctly pleochroic, exhibiting more-or-less perfect cleavage-
planes. These crystals are frequently surrounded by a narrow
band of highly pleochroic, secondary hornblende, which is usually
quite compact, and which shows no indication whatever of a
fibrous structure.

The plagioclase appears as angular grains and lath-shaped crys-
tals, which, as a rule, are distinctly striated, except where kaoliniza-
tion has taken place. Inclusions are abundant, both as minute
crystals and in what is supposed to be fluid cavities. The primary
hornblende, which is not so plentiful as the secondary hornblende,
is of a light-green color.


Area, 423 square miles; approximate road-mileage, 300; num-
ber miles of graded road, o; number of miles of macadamized

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Toad, o ; amount of money annually raised for public-road purposes,
o. The roads are constructed and maintained by statute labor.

Harris county has made but little progress toward the improve-
ment of its highways. Many of the leading thoroughfares have
steep grades, and are often in poor condition for traffic. The Chair-
man of the Board of County Commissioners says, that the roads
are worked, on an average, only about three days each year, and
that there seems to be a general lack of interest in road-improve-

The materials of Harris county, available for road-metal, are
granite, gneiss, hornblende-schist, diorite and metamorphic sand-
stone. The last named rock forms Pine Mountain, which traverses
the county from northeast to southwest. In places, this sandstone
has been used to limited extent for road-surfacing ; but its friable
nature renders it unsuitable for roads with heavy traffic. Probably
the best materials, for road-surfacing, to be found in this county,
are diorite and hornblende-schist. These rocks, which are often
distinguished from each other, only by microscopic examination,
are pretty generally distributed throughout the county. Typical
specimens of the diorite may be seen on the roadside about half-a-
mile east of Hamilton. The rock occurs here in bands several
feet wide, interlaminated with the schists and gneisses. It is dis-
tinctly schistose, fine-grained, and of dark-gray color. Pyrite, in
the form of bright glistening crystals, is the only mineral readily
made out, without the use of the lens. A thin section, when ex-
amined under the microscope, reveals, as constituents, plagioclase,
hornblende, quartz, pyrite, garnet and allanite.

The plagioclase is fresh and well striated. It occurs as irreg-
ular grains and imperfect crystals. The hornblende has a pale-
green color. It rarely shows distinct cleavage lines. Quartz, one
of the most abundant constituents, is present in the form of
angular interlocking grains, often containing great numbers of
minute inclusions. The other minerals are more or less plentiful,
and are quite evenly distributed throughout the section. The
Tock has a high specific gravity, and is very difficult to break.

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The only thing, that detracts from its usefulness as a road-surf acy
ing material, is its schistosity ; otherwise, it seems to be an excel-
lent road-metal.


Area, 360 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-
poses, not ascertained. The roads are constructed and maintained
by statute and hired free labor.

Topographically, Talbot county is hilly in the central and
northern portions ; while the southern part is more level. The
soils are sandy. In constructing good roads throughout the
county, much grading will be required. Especially is this trat
of the northern portion, in the vicinity of Pine Mountain.

Road-building materials are abundant and of good quality.
They consist of granite, gneiss, schists and trap rock. The last
named rock occurs as a huge dike traversing the county in a
northwest-and-southeast direction.

Good exposures of this rock may be seen within the corporate
limits of Talbotton. It is quite abundant at the cemetery, where
it occurs in huge rounded boulders ; it is also well exposed in a
cut, on the Talbotton Railroad, near by. To the south of Tal-
botton, the trap rock forms a well defined ridge extending^ south-
east for about four miles. It is last seen on lots IJ4 and ijj^ i6th
district^ overlaid by Columbia sands. The dike, in places, seems
to attain a great thickness, probably a hundred feet or more. The
weathered boulders are often so abundant, as to make the soil
practically worthless for cultivation, until they are removed. A
specimen of the rock, taken from the cemetery at Talbotton, is
thus described : —

It is a dark greenish-gray, fine-grained, holocry'^stalline, massive
rock. The individual minerals are difficult to recognize by the
unaided eye. In thin sections, the rock is seen to be made up of
plagioclase, augite, olivine and magnetite. These minerals' alL

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occur in the usual form for a typical diabase. Olivine is not so
abundant in this rock, as in a majority of the olivine-diabases
found in Georgia.

It is an ideal road material in every respect, and should become
of general use throughout the county for road-surfacing. The
streets of Talbotton should, by all means, be macadamized with
this material. Good quarries could be located almost within the
corporate limits of the town, and the cost of preparing and placing
the stone on the streets would consequently be comparatively small.

The granites, gneisses and schists are widely distributed, and
can be had in abundance at many points along all the main


Area, 552 square miles; approximate road-mileage, 430; num-
ber of miles of graded road, 4 ; 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

Topographically, Meriwether county is undulating, and presents
no difficult problems in the matter of road-construction. The hills
and ridges are usually low and well-rounded, and can generally be
crossed by roads with easy grades. There is one exception, how-
ever, to this general rule, namely, the region traversed by Pine
Mountain, in the southern part of the county. Here, the surface
becomes quite mountainous, and roads with easy grades are diffi-
cult to construct, without an outlay of considerable money. Many
of the roads in the county, in places, are poorly located. They
should be re-surveyed, before any improvement, of a permanent
nature, is attempted. Otherwise, the cost of both the construc-
tion and the maintenance will necessarily be very great. The
roads of the county, at the time of the writer's visit, were found in
fair condition, for common country-roads, maintained by statute
labor. Probably the best roads in the county are those in the
Warm Springs district, where the soils are sandy and easily

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drained. In the immediate vicinity of this noted resort, are to be
seen some excellent roadways, with graceful curves and low
grades, winding along the hill-slopes. These are probably due, in
great measure, to individual enterprise. However, they show, in
a very striking manner, how roads, even in this mountainous sec-
tion, can be constructed at small cost, when properly located.

The road-building materials of Meriwether county are granites,
gneisses, schists, diorite and trap (diabase).

Typical specimens of the granites of the county may be seen at
the Greenville Granite Company's quarry, near the corporate limits
of Greenville ; also, at the Tigner quarry, located on lot 68^ jth
district The stone from these quarries has been used, more or less
extensively, for building and ornamental purposes. It has a fine
texture, and is well adapted for road-metal.

The gneisses are far more abundant, than the granites. They
occur at numerous localities; and, like the granites, they have
been used , to a considerable extent, for building purposes. Large
exposures of this rock occur at Odessa, and on the H. Warner Hill
property, lot 209 y Harris City district. It is also abundant on Mr.
G. A. Barnes's property, adjoining the Hill property, and on lot
61 y jth district y owned by Mr. T. B. Tigner. In addition to the
common gneisses, here spoken of, there occurs a more-or-less
extensive exposure of hornblende-gneiss, on lot jd, jth district.
All these gneisses are fine-grained, and fairly well suited for high-
way-construction .

The most valuable road-materials of the county are the so-called
trap rocks (diorite and diabase) here described : —

Museum No. 1,637 — Diorite.

Locality — One mile north of White Sulphur Springs, on the
road to Greenville.

This is a dark-gray, coarse-grained, massive rock, in which the
feldspar and biotite are very conspicuous. Microscopic examina-
tion of thin sections shows the rock to possess a granitic structure,
and to consist largely of feldspar, and secondary brown hornblende
derived apparently from enstatite. Biotite, in the form of irregu-

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lar plates, is pretty evenly distributed throughout the section.
Magnetite, in considerable quantities, is also present.

Museum No. 1,640 — Olivine-Diabase,

Locality — Half-a-mile west of Chalybeate Springs.

This is a fine-grained, dark-gray diabase. The individual min-

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Online LibrarySamuel Washington McCallieA preliminary report on the roads and road-building materials of Georgia → online text (page 15 of 22)