Thursday, December 30, 2010

Roads: Icy, Washboard, Plank Roads

Brilliant blue skies with crystal snow crusting everything...what a day! When Tika and I went walking, the snowplow had made "washboards" on the road. Back inside, I found a note I'd made when I was in Salt Lake and here's my entry to you today: Did you know? In 1847 Onandaga County, NY, passed a law to construct plank roads mainly to help farmers get their produce to the railroad lines or the canal, and to help merchants importing goods for sale and for stage lines, transportation and mail. Onandaga County has the honor to claim that they were the first to build plank roads in the U.S. (so said a blurb on their county website). These roads must have been better than mud but terrifically uncomfortable to ride over, being made of sawed logs. Sometimes they were laid curved side up and sometimes the curved side went down, and these were laid across "sleepers." (Think iron rails laid across railroad ties.) These plank roads were toll roads. The fee for a man was 3c; a man and a horse was 6c, an ox was 6c but a sheep was only 1c. A 1-horse wheeled cart was 10c and a loaded cart or wagon was 25cents. Was that a lot for those days?? And we gripe today about a few potholes? Tika likes washboard roads, muddy roads, and I'm sure she'd enjoy running along plank roads.

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