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Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 72.djvu/511

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507
SPRINGS AS A GEOGRAPHIC INFLUENCE

few rods to the left, where the same horizontal distance involves only half the grade; the original highway did follow the valley, connecting the two houses. But log-haulers from the wooded upland located their main road where it would command as much of the area as possible, approaching it by spurs along contours. This traffic fixed the road where it is, though it has never led directly to a dwelling; property complications diverted the second house up the valley to it, the original roadway being abandoned. A similar influence in highway-location due to mining operations is seen one and one half miles west of Mary Ann Furnace in the road trending southwest from the one leading to Wilkins Corners. Some fifty years ago a vein of coal on this slope was worked for local use, and was approached from the west, thus opening a highway that has served little use since.

It is evident also that so far as the intervalley roads are concerned, the topographic factor made slight appeal to the locating engineers, an ox-team and its driver. If the most direct line between houses, i. e., between springs, crossed a sharp hill, the highway went directly over rather than follow a contour, or take even a gentler, if slightly longer, grade. I have noted several places where in the past decade these sharp grades have been removed by a detour, but two generations had dragged themselves wearily over the hill.

The convenience of good water, or of rich bottom lands in the valleys, factors that would seem to have much weight with the early settler in choosing a location, is of secondary importance when opposed to an inherited topographic proclivity. A man reared among hills, however barren, has a latent tendency to plant his new home in similar topography. This bias, developed through environment, whether inherited or acquired by the individual, is illustrated in the choice of lands made by Welsh immigrants who came into Licking County, Ohio, early last century; they passed by thousands of acres of lowlands, the richest in the state, and selected farms in a rugged portion of the county, still owned by their descendants, and even now designated "The Welsh Hills."

But in the region to which special study was given, the geographic influence of springs is obvious. There are 203 houses in the township, 148 of which are built at springs; some of the fifty-five using wells formerly depended on springs. Both the horizontal and vertical distribution of these dwellings is largely a matter of stratigraphy of which the springs are a manifestation. It should be noted, however, that the localization of houses near Mary Ann Furnace is due to the fact that over sixty years ago iron ore, found in the neighboring hills, was reduced here; stoves also were manufactured at this place. The furnace was destroyed in 1853, but the houses are still in use.

Over fifty per cent, of the dwellings with springs are in the horizon