|Main Street, Cortland (north of Court Street). Photo credit Grip's Historical Souvenir of Cortland, 1899.|
The Secret of Good Roads.
The grand character of the old Romans as road-builders is universally recognized by all who are familiar with historic events and conditions.
Their manner of constructing strong, hard, durable, and at the same time, comparatively elastic road-beds, which would shed or drain off water in a way to leave the surface of the road unchanged and thus insure the comfort and safety of those traveling over it, was not a secret and yet to ride over the streets of some of our large villages, one would be led to imagine that the formula for road-making had been kept the most profound of secrets since the beginning.
But from the dull monotony of the hideous thoroughfare, [it] is a relief to turn to a town where the reverse of these conditions prevail and in this respect, as in many others, the city of Cortland stands out in a kind of bold relief which is a source of pride to her citizens and envy to all outside beholders.
Let us look into and discuss the methods of road-making and by so doing perhaps we may give some hints which will be helpful to our neighbors in surrounding towns and thus hasten the time when no more such miserable highways can be found in the United States and especially not within the corporation limits.
In the first place let us consider the marvelous work of paving on Main street; this pavement is composed of a choice selection of medium-sized cobble stones, set firmly in sand, so that no amount of storm or running water could undermine any of them and cause them to become loosened or displaced, but in its construction, the master mechanic was not unmindful of expediences [sic] for the preservation of property, that is to say, he kept an eye to the arrangement of the pavement so that vehicles passing over should not rust out in the bolts and springs and to avoid this, at intervals of every few feet a crevice of the width of a wagon wheel or a deep indentation with no paving in the bottom was made, then too, the stones were not all placed on the same level, one being a little above the other and the other a few inches below the one and this system of alternation being kept up throughout the entire surface of the road, produces a very artistic effect besides being of great value to the wagon's passing over it, for without some ingenious device of this kind to keep the springs and bearings in working order, it is easy to see that they would soon become rusted out and drop apart.
Yet notwithstanding all of this painstaking care and forethought, we have known some ill-natured critics to insinuate, with elaborate expletives, that this pavement is rough enough to destroy all religious sentiments. Imagine the ingratitude of such feelings and yet it is comforting to think that these people are not critics in the true sense of the word, but simply prejudiced and unrighteous fanatics setting their puny insignificance up in denunciation of the towering intellects, which were the moving spirits in the construction of this master-piece and also of those whose pleasurable duty it is to keep it in repair.
Then, also, the street railway line is constructed on an unquestionably excellent plan with reference to comfort of the traveling public, which outshines any device of the kind which ever come [sic] under our notice. Instead, as in most cities is the case, of the surface of the road being graded up even with the surface of the rails, the rails are left elevated a few inches above the surrounding road. Now the ingenuity of the arrangement is not hard to discover, as if it were otherwise, in crossing the track, while driving from one side of the track to the other, one would not realize that anything out of the common were taking place, while under the present prevailing circumstances, it is gently borne in upon ones sensibilities that he is crossing the domains of a rich and thriving corporation, from a soft and gentle swaying motion, likened by some to the sensations produced by flying; this is caused by the successive rising of the wheels from the level of the road to the top of the rails followed by an abrupt descent on the other side. It produces a sensation which, if but once experienced will ever remain indelibly fixed upon the memory. And this feature has, beside its many elevating qualities, the added advantage of quantity since it extends not only the length of Main street, but also the entire length of North and South Main street and a large portion of Homer avenue, and throughout the whole distance you will invariably find the rails elevated just sufficiently to make riding over them almost an earthly Paradise.
In the face of all of this, instances have come under our notice, where these irritable fanatics, previously mentioned, have indulged their passion for profanity to an alarming degree and that to in denouncing what to educated men is but a source of pleasure and edification.
Besides these interesting features on the main streets of the city, there are in other parts, excellences [sic] equally worthy of notice, but time and space only permit us to touch hastily upon the most important of these.
In the first place there is the road from Main street a short distance up Lincoln avenue; it is made of broken stones and far excells any asphalt pavement. Take Elm and Railroad streets, Groton and Clinton avenues and in rainy weather, more enchanting roads cannot be found; why we have known times during the very rainiest seasons, when it might be expected that the road would be in a horrible condition, that a wagon in passing over these streets would not sink into the mud over half way to the axle.
Thus we see that our corporation abounds in roadbeds which are equal to and many of them far excel the best.
Of course, Church street and a few others of minor importance are too smooth to be classed as first-class roads, but on an average they are arranged on a plan which allows the water to settle to the middle of [the road and not] into the ruts in a way which…example to all who may [use our roads.]
FON MIRCH. [pen name]
W. C. T. U. Convention.
The eighth annual Convention of Cortland Co. Woman's Christian Temperance Union, was held in Virgil September 6th and 7th.
At the first roll call, delegates from every Union in the county, but two responded, some having driven twenty miles to do so.
A cordial welcome awaited us, abundant preparations having been made for our pleasure and comfort. The pulpit and altar of the church were nearly filled with bouquets and potted plants.
The first devotionals were conducted by Mrs. Smith, wife of the pastor of the church in which the convention was held. The convention was then called to order by the Pres. Miss Sara E. Collins.
Committees on credentials resolutions and courtesies appointed, after which the address of welcome was given by Mrs. Jennie Ballou, President of the Virgil Union. This was responded to by impromptu speeches from several delegates.
The noontide hour having arrived, Mrs. Miner Merrick of Blodgett's Mills led in prayer. This is the hour set apart by white ribbons, for prayers for the work and workers—and so it is always noon somewhere. So prayers are always ascending, until not only are their "bands of ribbon white around the world," but the prayers of white ribbon women girdle the world also.
The president's address which came in the early part of the afternoon was full of beautiful thoughts and excellent suggestions, but contained one announcement which brought sorrow to all, that she should be unable to serve in the capacity of President another year. The women of Cortland county have been justly proud of the executive ability of their leader, have admired her strong character and fully trusted in her wisdom, and as one said "intended to make her President for life," but, alas!
A very interesting program was given by the Loyal Temperance Legion of Virgil consisting of singing and recitation. The music of the convention was in charge of Miss Eva Doud. Mrs. Muncey and Miss Ballou sang a duet, and in the evening the church choir were present and sang. On the evening of September 6th, Mrs. Anna E. Rice of Batavia, State Supt. of the Dept. of Mothers Meetings, in her quiet earnest way, gave one of the most impressive and forceful addresses to which we have ever listened. The subject was "We shall reap as we sow."
Encouraging reports from Supt.'s of Dept.'s were given during the convention. A paper upon Temperance hospitals was read by Mrs. Minnie Starr of Homer. Mrs. Julia Tanner of Blodgett's Mills, gave a review of the work of the W. C. T. U., which might have been listened to with profit by the gentleman who said some time ago, "The Women's Christian Temperance Union has no record."
At the election of officers, Mrs. J. W. Keese was elected president; Miss Sara E. Collins, vice-president; Mrs. Julia Tanner, corresponding sec; Libbie Robertson, recording sec.; Mrs. Jennie Boynton, Treas.
W. C. T. U. Notes.
Dr. Nivison, of Dryden Springs, and Miss Selma Borg, of Finland, Russia, will on Saturday, the 17th inst., at 5 P. M., speak in the rooms of the W. C. T. U. in relation to the nature and scope of Dr. Nivison's cure for chronic alcoholism and kindred phases of intemperance.
Miss Borg, as a Keely patient, has spent some time in the Dryden Springs sanitarium, and will personally witness to Dr. Nivison's prayerfully, scientific, and moral success in the treatment of every case of alcoholic and tobacco slavery within that period. All are invited—gentlemen as well as ladies—to be present on this occasion.
The congregation of St. Mary's church met Wednesday night at the church for the purpose of taking action towards the reception of Rev. Father McLoghlin on his return from Europe. Hugh Duffey, Esq., was made chairman of the general committee and Jas. P. Maher vice-chairman and Chas. Corcoran secretary. The following general committee was appointed to take charge of the matter with power to add to their members if necessary:
Hugh Duffey, Jas. P. Maher, J. T. Courtney, Jr., Wm. Martin, L. J. Fitzgerald, J. F. Dowd, J. H. O'Leary, J. T. Keenan, Peter Cowley, M. F. Cleary, Peter Nodecker, J. B. Quigley, F. D. Dowd, T. F. Grady and Chas. Corcoran.
The ladies of the committee are as follows:
Miss Minnie Cleary, Mrs. J. B. Quigley, Mrs. Jas. Schermerhorn, Mrs. Jas. P. Maher, Mrs. C. N. Hardy, Mrs. Chas. Corcoran, Mrs. J. H. O'Leary, Mrs. Anna Corcoran and Misses Nelly Shea, Grace Duffey, Anna Hayes, Mary Dowd, Mate Dowd, Mary Morris, Anna Courtney and Mayme Grady.
The general committee of ladies and gentlemen met at the C. M. B. A. rooms Thursday afternoon when fuller arrangements were made. Father McLoghlin sailed from Ireland on the 7th inst. on the Bothnia, Cunard line and with good weather should arrive in New York this week. If he is not detained in quarantine over 24 hours, he should be with his beloved people again this week, or early next week. Rev. Father McLoghlin of Rome, [N. Y.] who has officiated here and taken charge of the Parish in the absence of his cousin, has endeared himself to the people of Cortland by his goodness of heart and his unassuming attention to the onerous and numerous wants, not only of this parish, but also of the large parish and congregation of Truxton. He well deserves the hearty good wishes of the Catholic people of this vicinity, and we trust that the Right Rev. Bishop may send him to Cortland permanently as assistant to his cousin, Father John.
The Catholic people have grown so in numbers that where a few years ago one priest was enough to cover this immediate territory there are now four, and we trust soon that Cortland will have another in the person of Father McLoghlin of Rome.
M. [contributor's initial or mark.]