Open main menu

Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 56.djvu/543

This page has been proofread, but needs to be validated.
527
MODERN CITY ROADWAYS.

those formed of stones in their natural condition, variously known as bowlders, pebbles, or cobblestones.

The first attempt at a street pavement in this country was doubtless that referred to by Mrs. John King Van Rensselaer, in the Goede Vrouw of Mana-na-ta, where she says, in speaking of what was once called Brower Street, because it passed by the great brewery built by one of the first of the Van Cortlandts: "This street lies between Whitehall and Broad, and was one of the first lanes laid out by the settlers, and was commonly known as 'The Road.' In 1657 it was paved with small round cobblestones, and the circumstance created such a sensation that the country people visited it as a curiosity, and it was one of the sights of the little dorp. The burghers laughingly nicknamed it Stone Street, which name it still retains. The improvement was effected by Madame Van Cortlandt, as she could not endure the dust that filled her tidy house, caused by the heavy brewers' wains that were constantly passing her door."

This cobblestone pavement, laid on Stone Street nearly two centuries and a half ago, has been a persistent type, and, on account of their availability and cheapness, such stones continued to be used in many cities PSM V56 D0543 Large paving stones on a naples street.pngStreet in Naples, showing Large Paving Stones. until within a very few years. When they were well shaped and uniform in size they made quite a durable pavement, and, though rough and noisy, were capable, when well laid, of sustaining a considerable traffic. Fortunately, the better class of these stones are-now so scarce and the poorer ones are so execrable that this type of pavement is becoming obsolete, though there are many miles for which more civilized pavements are yet to be substituted, two hundred and thirty-eight miles of which are unfortunately in the Borough of Brooklyn. The next step in advance was the use of stone shaped to uniform size, or approximately so, and with a more or less smooth surface. This is the pavement in most general use to-day, and for