Samuel Washington McCallie.

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

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are the hornblende-schists. These rocks differ from the diorites
mineralogically in that they have quartz as a constituent, instead of
feldspar. They are very abundant and quite generally distributed
throughout the Crystalline area. The hornblende-schists, like the
diorites, occur in the form of bands or belts in the mica-schists.
These belts are usually narrow; but occasionally they expand to
the width of several hundred feet. The rock is always laminated
and fine-grained. The less distinctly laminated varieties make a
fair road-building material. These varieties are quite tough, and
give excellent service, when used for road-surfaciug.

Mica-SchisL — The mica-schists, which are the most abundant
of all the Crystalline rocks, are widely distributed. They consist
of mica and quartz, and are always distinctly laminated, which
renders them practically unfit for road-material.

Quartzite, — The quartzites or sandstones of the Crystalline
area are limited to a few localities. The most extensile exposures
of this class of rocks form a chain of low ridges and hills, ex-
tending from near Barnesville, Georgia, to the Alabama State-line
by the way of Warm Springs, Chipley and Hamilton. These
sandstones are usually thin-bedded and occasionally flexible. In
places, they become quite compact, and pass into hard quartzites.
These rocks have been used to a limited extent in the vicinity of
Pine mountain for road-material ; but they are usually too friable,
to withstand the wear of traffic, and hardly deserve to be classed
among the road-building materials. Similar sandstones or quartz-

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ites occur along the line separating the Paleozoic from the Crys-
talline area, and also on Graves mountain, an isolated monadnock
located in the western part of Lincoln county.

Marble, — Marble or crystalline limestone occurs in Cherokee,
Pickens, Gilmer and Fannin counties, forming a narrow belt along
the Atlanta, Knoxville and Northern R. R. The stone has been
used to a small extent in the vicinity of Tate for road purposes ;
but owing to its coarse grain it is not well adapted for that use.

Gravel, — Quartz pebbles and bowlders, which have resulted
from the breaking down of quartz veins, are very common
throughout the Crystalline area. They are so abundant, in many
places, as to interfere with the cultivation of the soil. Large
quantities of them have been used on the railroads for ballast, and,
in a few places, they have had a local use for road-macadam.
They are poorly suited for the latter purpose, on account of their
brittleness and their lack of binding quality.



The Road-building materials of the Tertiary area are limestone,
buhrstone or flint, and gravel. In the vicinity of the coast, shells
also have had a limited use in road-surfacing.

Limestone. — The limestones of South Georgia outcrop at many
points throughout the Coastal Plain. They are exposed most
abundantly along the streams, in the vicinity of lime-sinks or
lakes. They are also occasionally seen in the cuts of the various
railroads traversing that part of the State. These limestones are
usually soft and of a porous nature ; though, occasionally, they be-
come quite compact and are partly crystalline. The softer varie-
ties, in places, consist mainly of fragments of shells and a limited
amount of sand cemented together by a calcareous matrix. This
class of limestone has been used, to a considerable extent, for road-
and street- surfacing, both in South Georgia and Florida ; and it
seems to give entire satisfaction. It readily cements into a com-
pact hardened surface, comparatively free from dust. This mate-

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rial has been used in the last few years on some of the streets in the
city of Macon, where it has given good results. The cheapness,
with which these soft limestones can be prepared and put in place
on the roadbeds, makes them the most valuable material of the
Tertiary area for road-surfacing. The hard limestones of South
Georgia appear to have but little use, so far, in road-construction.
Nevertheless, they are more or less widely distributed ; and they
seem to be fairly well adapted to that purpose.

Buhrstone or Flint, — Buhrstone or Flint is quite abundant along
the Georgia-Florida State-line, and also at many points further
north. It is usually of a porous nature, and has evidently origi-
nated from the silicification of the limestone, with which it is fre-
quently associated. These siliceous deposits sometimes occur, in
more or less continuous layers, often three feet or more in thick-
ness ; but, as a general thing, they appear as bowlders or detached
masses imbedded in the sands or clays. The buhrstone is quite
brittle ; and it could hardly be used alone to advantage for road-
surfacing ; but, if mixed with the soft limestones, which often are
found near by, it would probably make a fair road-surface.

Gravel. — Gravel deposits are quite plentiful along the northern
border of the Tertiary area, where they are often seen, in thick
beds outcropping beneath the superficial layers of sand. The peb-
bles are all water- worn, and evidently mark the limit of an old
shore-line. They are often cemented by ferruginous, sandy clays,
and make excellent material for road-surfacing. Many exposures
of these gravel deposits are to be seen in the vicinity of Augusta,
Milledgeville, Macon and Columbus. They are also frequently
found in small, local beds, as far south as Bainbridge. These
gravel deposits are well exposed, just across the Savannah river
from Augusta, near the Port Royal and Augusta Railroad. At
this point, the gravel has been extensively worked for the last few
years, and shipped to Augusta and Savannah, where it is used for
both street- and road-surfacing. The binding material of this gravel
is a ferruginous, sandy clay, which readily hardens into a compact
mass on being dampened and rolled, forming an excellent road-
surface, which is both durable and free from dust.

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Area, i86 square miles ; approximate road-mileage, 140 ; num-
ber of miles of graded road, o ; number of miles of gravel road,
several ; amount of money raised annually for public-road pur-
poses, $1,100; number of days worked by road hands each year, 4.
The roads are constructed and maintained by statute and free hired

Dade county lies in the extreme northwestern corner of the State.
Its eastern portion is traversed by Lookout mountain ; while much
of its western portion, on Sand mountain, is a comparatively level
plateau. The topographical features of Dade county offer no
serious difficulties in the way of road -construction, except where
the roads ascend the mountain. The roads at present are kept up
by statute labor, supplemented by free hired labor. Each militia
district has one overseer, who is paid $1.00 per day, while actu-
ally engaged on road-duty. Hired free labor, when employed, is
paid 75 cents per day. The county has no road-machinery or
tools, except scrapers, picks and shovels. The road-building ma-
terials are mainly limestone and chert. Sandstone is also abund-
ant in the western part of the county ; but it is usually so friable
as to render it almost worthless for constructing a hardened way.
The chert belongs to the Fort Payne formation, and is well suited
for road-surfacing. Dade county levies a special road-tax, of one
mill on the dollar, which, last year, amounted to $1,100.


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Area, 404 square miles ; total road-mileage, 750 ; number of
miles of graded road, 20; amount of money annually raised for
public-road purposes, $2,619. The roads are constructed and
maintained by statute and hired labor.

The topography of Walker county is varied. The extreme east-
ern and western parts of the county are distinctly mountainous ;
while the surface of its central portion consists of parallel valleys
separated by low, broad, well-rounded ridges. The roads in the
mountainous section usually have steep grades ; though, on account
of the sandy nature of the soil, they are easily drained, and there-
fore rarely ever become so extremely muddy as the roads in the
valleys. Some of the valley roads, where they are underlain by
the Chickamauga limestone are quite rocky. A good example of
a road of this character is the highway extending from Estelle, at
the foot of Pigeon mountain, to Chattanooga. Such roads as this,
however, could be easily repaired and put in first-class condition at
a comparatively small cost, owing to the abundance of excellent
road material at hand.

The twenty miles of graded roadway, referred to above, is the
U. S. national road, extending from LaFayette to Rossville. This
road, which is an ideal chert roadway, is an excellent object-lesson
to the citizens of that section of the country ; and there can be but
little doubt, that it will do much toward the betterment of the
roadways in the county. In addition to the grading of the national
road, there has also been a limited amount of grading done in the
vicinity of LaFayette, and at several points on the road crossing
Taylor's ridge. Most of the money collected for road purposes is
spent either in this way, or in graveling the worst places along the
main highways. It is estimated, that there has been about 20 miles
of road graveled, in the last few years at an average cost of $100
per mile. This cost of graveling seems to be unusually small.
However, it must be borne in mind, that the gravel can often be ob-
tained directly from the roadside, so that the expense of hauling is
reduced to a minimum.

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The roads of Walker county are worked, under the road law of
1897. Each person subject to road-duty is required to work on
the public roads four days each year, or pay a commutation-tax of
$ About $300 is reported to be received by the County Ordi-
nary annually, as commutation-taxes. The remaining part of the
money received for road purposes is obtained by an assessment, of
one mill on the dollar for all real property. In the last few years,
Walker county has constructed four steel bridges at a total cost of
about $2,500.

The road-building materials of the county are abundant and
widely distributed. They consist of chert and limestone. Both
the Fort Payne chert and the Knox Dolomite chert abound. The
former is confined chiefly to the base of Lookout and Pigeon
mountains ; while the latter occurs in the Dolomite ridges travers^
ing the central part of the county. The limestones are found
throughout all the valleys. The Chickamauga limestone is espe-
cially abundant and is well suited for road material.


Area, 149 square miles ; total road-mileage, 200 miles ; number
of miles of graded road, 40 ; number of miles of macadamized
road, 40 ; amount of money annually raised for road purposes,,
$850. The roads are constructed and maintained mainly by statute

For the last two years, Catoosa county has levied a special road-
tax of one mill on the dollar, and a commutatioH-tax of three dol-
lars on each individual subject to road-duty ; or, in lieu thereof,
four days' labor per year. From the^e two sources, there is col-
lected usually about $850, which is distributed to the several dis-
tricts of the county to be used in the improvement of the highways.
The ordinary says, that the system is satisfactory, and the roads
are being improved.

The graded and macadamized roads of Catoosa county have
all been constructed by the United States Government within or
near Chickamauga Park. These are excellent roadways with

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'easy grades. The hardened surface consists of two layers of stone.
The lower layer is made of limestone and the upper, of chert. The
former makes a superior foundation ; while the latter gives a
smooth, uniform wearing-surface, comparatively free from dust.
These National roads are all models of highway improvement ;
and they will no doubt exert a strong influence in that part of the
State, toward the betterment of the public roads.

The road-surfacing materials of Catoosa county are everywhere
abundant. They consist of the Knox dolomites, Chickamauga lime-
stones and cherts. The last two varieties of road-building mate-
rials occur in the same formation, known as the Knox Dolomite
series. This formation gives rise to broad ridges, traversing the
county in a northeast-and-south west direction. Near the base of
these ridges, often occur heavy deposits of chert, quite free from
clay and other objectionable materials. Such material requires
little or no preparation for road-surfacing ; and, as a consequence,
gravel roads in this county can be constructed at minimum cost.
There is probably no portion of the State so abundantly supplied
with cheap road-material as Catoosa county.


Area, 285 square miles ; approximate road-mileage, 500 ; num-
ber of- miles of graded road, several ; number of miles of macad-
-amized road, a few; amount of money annually raised for public-
road purposes, $1,800. The roads are constructed and maintained
by statute and free hired labor.

The eastern part of Whitfield county is broken, and the sur-
face is irregular ; while the central and western parts consist of a
number of parallel ridges and valleys. Some of these ridges, as in
the case of Chattoogata mountain and Taylor's ridge, often attain
an elevation of several hundred feet above the intervening valleys
and become serious obstacles in the way of road-building. The
soils of the county, especially those formed from the weathering
of the Oostanaula shales, are very unfavorable for road-construc-

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tion. When wet, they are easily worked into a tough, tenacious
mud, which often renders the roads, in places, almost impassable.

The Ordinary, in speaking of the highways, says : ''We are
working, under what is known as the conditional road law of 1890
and 1891. Our roads are being gradually improved ; and we only
need more money, and it well applied, to soon have good roads."

The county levies a special road-tax of nine-tenths of a mill on
the dollar, of all taxable property. The money thus collected is
proportioned out to the various districts, where it is expended in
hiring hands to work on the roads.

The county owns two iron bridges, and a half -interest in five
others, which have been recently constructed at a cost of about
$2,000 each.

The road materials are abundant. They consist mainly of lime-
stone and shales.


Area, 410 square miles; approximate road-mileage, 212; 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 ; average number of days worked by hands each year, 6.
The roads are constructed and maintained by statute labor.

Murray county lies in the northwestern part of the State, chiefly
within the Paleozoic area. Its surface in the eastern part is quite
mountainous ; while the western portion is undulating. Many of
the higher mountains in the eastern part of the county, such
as Cohutta and Bald, have an elevation of more than 3,000
feet above the sea-level. Passable roads for wagons in the moun-
tain sections are found along the streams. Such roads always
have steep grades, and are often difficult to maintain. The roads
of the eastern part of the county have much better grades, and
they are generally kept in fair condition for traffic. The mate-
rials for road-surfacing are quite abundant. They consist mainly
of limestone, dolomite and chert. The limestone occurs mostly as
thin beds in the Connasauga shales, which are widely distributed

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over the county. Chickamauga limestone also occurs; but it,
like the Knox dolomite and chert, is confined to the northern part
of the county. In the mountainous portion of the county, the
geological formations consist largely of conglomerates and meta-
raorphic sandstones with slates. Murray county, aided by Whit-
field county, has constructed in the last few years seven bridges
across the Connasauga river at a cost of about $2,500 each.


Area, 351 square miles; total road-mileage, 350; 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 Chairman of the Board of the County Commissioners, in
speaking of the condition of the highways in Gordon county, says :
"Our present way of working our public roads is very unsatisfac-
tory. We have very poor roads in Gordon county, and will con-
tinue to have, so long as our present system prevails. There is
some talk of making a change in our present method of working
the roads."

The road materials of Gordon county consist of limestones and
cherts. The former belong mostly to the Knox Dolomite forma-
tipn ; although there are, in places, considerable outcroppings of
limestone, suitable for road-surfacing, occurring in the Connasauga
shales. Both these calcareous formations are compact, and well
adapted for road-metal. They are quite generally distributed
throughout the county.

The chert of Gordon county occurs in both the Knox Dolomite
and the Fort Payne formations. A good exposure of the former
occurs in the vicinity of Sugar Valley, elsewhere described ; while
the latter may be seen along the ridges immediately west of Cal-
houn. Chert from both these localities has been used, to a limited
extent, in road-surfacing, and has given general satisfaction.

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Area, 331 square miles; approximate road-mileage, 450 miles;
nimiber of miles of graded road, several ; number of miles of chert
road, 30; amount of money annually raised for ptfblic-road pur-
poses, $2,200. The roads are constructed and maintained by
statute and free labor.

The highways of Chattooga county are under the direct manage-
ment of district superintendents, appointed by the Board of Com-
missioners. These superintendents proportion the hands to the
several roads of their respective districts ; appoint overseers ; direct
the expenditure of all money collected for road purposes; and
make regular reports or statements to the Board of Commissioners.
For these duties, the superintendents are paid 60 cents per mile for
each mile of road in their respective districts. The overseers are
allowed $1.00 for each time the hands are subpoenaed to work the
roads. These expenses, together with team-hire for road-working,
building and repairing bridges, etc., are all paid for, by the special
tax of one mill on the dollar, which is raised for general road pur-
poses. All persons residing in the county and subject to road-duty
are required to work six days annually upon the highways, or pay
a commutation-tax of $3.00. The alternative is rarely ever taken
advantage of, on account of the high-rated money-value placed
upon a day's labor.

The Chairman of the Board of Commissioners is favorably im-
pressed with their present method of keeping up the public roads.
He says, it is quite an improvement over the old system. How-
ever, there is still a lack of money, and too much unconformity in
the method, to yield satisfactory results.

The surface of Chattooga county is hilly and uneven. It is
traversed, in a northeast-and-southwest direction, by numerous
ridges, which makes road-building, at right-angles to their direc-
tion, both difficult and expensive. The main roadways are usually
located in the valleys, and are connected with each other by cross-
country roads, constructed through low gaps or depressions in the

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The materials suitable for road-surfacing are very abundant itr
Chattooga county. They consist of the Knox dolomite, Chicka^
mauga and Mountain limestones, and chert. Both the Fort Payne
and the Knox Dolomite cherts are found here in large quantities.
The latter deposits have been extensively worked in the last few
years on the Chattanooga, Rome & Southern R. R., about a mile
south of Summerville. From this point, the chert has been
shipped to Savannah, Macon and other places, for street-surfacing.
The chert occurs here in a cut along the railroad, where it can be
loaded on the cars at a small expense. It is comparatively pure.
Nevertheless, there is, in places, considerable clay, which should
be removed, if the best quality of roadbed is desired.


Area, 539 square miles; approximate road-mileage, 500; num-
ber of miles of graded road, 100; number of miles of macadamized
road, 100 ; amount of money annually raised for public-road pur-
poses, from $10,000 to $12,000. The roads are constructed and
maintained by convict labor.

No county in the State has done more toward the improvement
of its highways than Floyd. Mr. Halsted Smith, of Rome, the
county-seat, in an address before the National Road Conference at
Asbury Park, N. J., gives the following information, concerning
road-maintenance in Floyd county :' "In Floyd county, in which
I live, the convict system has been tried. The object of the Board
of Commissioners of Roads and Revenues, which inaugurated the
system, was to take Rome, the county-seat, as a central point, and
to have roads radiate from that, as from a hub, making the main
thoroughfares as the spokes of a wheel. This system of convict
work was inaugurated, in November of 1881 ; there was a report
made, in the latter part of last year, by the Secretary of the Board
of Commissioners of Roads and Revenues showing the cost to the
county of this system. Beginning in November, 1881, the work

ProceedingB of the National Road Conference. Held at the Weatminster Church. Aabury
Park. N. J., July 5th and 6th, 1894, p. 40.


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for twelve years had cost j5i 16,000. In expending that, they had
worked upon these nine main thoroughfares leading from the
county-seat, and a total amount of 70 miles had been graded and
macadamized. That would make the cost 161,657 per mile. How-
ever, from that, there must be deducted the cost of bridges; the
approaches; and the expense of building piers and abutments,
which made, of course, a greater sum total.

*'The superintendent of the chain-gang claims, that he works,
and puts in order the ordinary country-road, of 16 feet in width, at a
cost of $1,200 per mile ; and from figures, that I have made myself
with reference to it, I believe, that he is nearly correct upon that

''As I said, there are nine main thoroughfares. In addition to
those outside of the corporate limits of Rome, the chain-gang has
worked about two miles inside of the city limits. The roads in-
side the city limits were 30 feet wide ; for two miles from the cor-
porate limits out, the roads were made 20 feet wide for a certain
distance ; and beyond that, they were made 16 feet wide. We
have a sandy soil there ; and the road is first graded by means of
road-plows ; and then it is macadamized inside the city to the
depth, for a distance of two miles out, of 15 inches in the center,,
going down to nine inches on the side of the macadam ; farther
out than that, the depth of the macadam is only nine inches in
the center, and six inches on the side. The stone for this macadam
has been obtained in two different ways. We have mostly lime-
stone in that country ; some of it has been blasted out, and crushed
with a stone-crusher, and then put upon the road ; and another

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Online LibrarySamuel Washington McCallieA preliminary report on the roads and road-building materials of Georgia → online text (page 9 of 22)