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The Highways Of Europe

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rAius,France,lS88.- Araong the inany attractlons aml noticeahle thlngs of tlie old world the smuoth and well eonstrtftfced highways so uuiveraally found, are a source of wonder and appreciation to the American tourist, coming as lie does froni a Und where stich tlung are comparatively litlle known. This refera not morely to the celebrated turnpikes, post and military thoroughfares oomtrrteted before the days of railroads, when they were an absolute necessity, but to all the country roads as they are now built and inaintained throughout Kngland and tlie continent. In tlie palmy clays of imperial Home many of the tinest turnpikes of Ettrope were fiuislied, and so pennanently and aubsfantiitlly was tlie work done, 'inany of tbem exlst and are In use at the present day. Napoleon the First was a great road builder as well as warrior, and lic almost grldlroqeJ the continent wjtb magnitieent highwars, upon which to move the riHWfiud heavy nrtillery f bis {rand intadintr Hrmiea. The celebrated Cornich road aTong the borders of the Mediterranean, in the Ffrtcli snd IUlian Kevleras, ld couslilered the lim-st in the world, pot alone for a nioilel turnpike, but taken in colnblnatlorj wlth tlie many diveisiliod aml picteMMpie landscapes on tlie oue side, and bordereil as it is on the otlier by tlie coast line, and ever ehangin;: marine yiows, Sltogetfier inakili It one of the moat enjovable riiles in ixlstance. Ie passes tliroiirli Ilie beautiful winter resorts of Cannes, Nice, Mentone and San Remo, the latti-r being the une selecled lor a resklence of the new einperor of Gérmany during his seveic illncsi, to escape tlié rigors of the Be tl in cllinale. It was here h lirst hcanl oftlie death of his ajfcd and illustrious iallicr, and from here he ileparted in a feeble and eritical condition of liealtli to return home and aíSiime the reina of roverument over a great and Iffowlng Empire. Thla road also passes tlirougli the wicked Monte ('arlo, In the sniall principality of Monaco, the only laiul N fee re the atsjssor and tax gatberer are Iv unknown, the expresa of the niinlature Kovernniüiit beinji paid by the rnlitu: prince, out of rents recüived lor tiie :unl ing privileges of the casino. The beaut i fit I spot is the loveliest that nature has ever produccd, and when tlie time comes, ag come it must, when the gam!linr halls are closed by the tirm hand of' the 1 iw, it will surely become the most ittlraetive and enjoynble winter resort of the old worid. Monaco sits majestically oti a bold promontory overlooking i tldeless sea aiuong oraii)j(ï jrrovea and MHPhf palm trees, her loveliness and beauty reflected in the merrlor like, saphire blue watera oftlie Mediterrnnean. Alonjr this Corniclie road the mountain side.s are so precipitous, the groves of oranje, leuion and olive trees grow on walled terraces wliieh extend llke stairs, as lililí ua the eye can reach, and occasionally, through openinga in the evergreen leaves, are sct-ii the rulns of ancient monasteries and cliateuu', also the bright fac ides of modern ltalinn villas. Another magniñeent drive, almost eqiially admired, extf nds ulong Ilie south shore oftlie narrow península whkh juta out towards the island of Capri, and lies between the bays of Naples and S ilemo. For 19 miles between La Cava and Amalphi, it winda lts tortuous eourse high up the ëteep mountain side, and much oftlie illstance is blasted out of the solid rock. At many danjrerous placea walls of solid masonry are built up to the road-way levul, then nnrrowed a little and carried up above it auttlciently liigh to insure the satety of everythiiiji passtni; alotift. It runs tlirouph tunnels under rocky promontorios and high ina.saive viaducts carry it over streams and deep raviues. tiilled writers have made these benutiful roads and their picturetque surroondlugi Mie themes ot unlliant word palntUift and they have loug sime bcome fainoua on canvas, in poetry and iueong. Let tijUtiiu oiir attention from tlie]moie inlerestlng subject of these eelebraicd roads, built in ancient and medieval timen, of wbich the world bas heard so ranch, and conslder for a moment the counnon roads of the interior disti iets as to how they are constructed and inaintained at the present dny. Oo wl ere jou may thromrhout Kngland and the continent of Kurope, the roads are .so hard and smooth yoü can walk, rideor drive in any directioii, at every Beasou of the yeai, durlnjt "11 kinds of woather, wltli r-leuure and perfect HSurnce of comlorl aml safety. Surely, it is the parmline ofbicyHits; equestrians and pedestrians can nowhere more completely enjoy them Helves, and what is of greater importauce, transportation is parried on with ffreater economy, satisfaction and imlependeiicc. An cxamination and study of the niaiiner and methods cmployed in buildiriii and iiiaintaining them, itnd a search for the reasona why they 60 far outnuinl)cr aml excl our own, bas led to the iollowlng conclusión, vi: First, tbrOUgh lonj{ experience and deep study of the subject the greater economy, increasod pleasure and aatisfaction in thfir poaaeMlon and use ii'far butler uudeiitood aad appreclatcd. Second, road-making has beeu reduccd to a science in Europe, and, generally tpeaking, none but experienced men are employed to lay out, niake or repair tbem. Tutti, the lirst essenlial to a good road is the removal of all eartli ligliter tbau the road material, the securiug of a solid foundation, to insure permanent and lastingall labor and material expended in building and repairing it. Fourth, after a road is once constructed, itmnediate attention toany neaded repairs not only continually keeps it in good condition, but also prevenís greater outlayg in more extensive repairs aml lic - qiieut renewals cauaed by neglect. Fiftli, thirty-live feet is ampie width for the right-of-way for a country ruad, and to make it wider la a neeless waste of land, besides addiug largely to the cost of keeplng it in trood condition. The road wav ilself sliould only be of sutilcient width to allow the convenient pafgage of two loaded teams. Ii.-t, but not least in nnportance, are the superior laws aml regnlations governing their construclion and supervisión. Jn many localities of our countrv tbc economy of better roada ia alowiy becoming better understood and this important subject is receiving luoreased attention. The older and more densely lated district can offer no reasonable excuse f'or langer delaylnjj the adoptlon of a System which has lonjr slnce proved itself so profitable to the old world, and the tonner plea of poverty and beins a new conntry can be no longer truthfully advanced. The fiets are we stand in great need or better roads. We possegs the talent, ability and material to make and maintain them, and although somewhat expensive at lirst, we have and can spare the amotine of mom-y necessary to pay for them. As the expeilence of centimes has dcinonstrated beyond a doubt that thcy are advantageous and prolitable, why sacrilice our comfort, wallow in the mud, and unnecessarily wear out our horses and vehlcles, and our patience as well, and leave the pleaures and beneliU derived irom their poMeMiOQ and use to the enjoyment of future generations! To dart aright in securinr these much needed blesslnga - for bleuitiga they certainly are - the laws and rcgiilatiou joverniiifr them must be changed and substituted in their place those of a broader and more far reachinil system. Instead of beinst entirely under the control of township and district office rs there ahould be a coiinty, and perhaps partial state supervisión, to insure greater uniformity and a more coininon purpose. A county control lias beon tried, and isstill in force, In Eugland and ia said to work exceedmgly well, i ii fact better thau any other plan aüopted in former times. The plan i- brlelly descrlbèd as tollows: A general fuiiil is raised by a county tax for the purpose ot inaiiitiiiniiifr the principal thoronghfares of the county. Tuis fund is allotted to the several local distiicts, in proportlon to the amounts of such roads witliiu Is l)ound:iri's, and the allotment is lald out by the local offleera, under the general directlon of a county inspector, elected for the purpose. If for any reasoD a district faüi to keep its roads iu !i satisïactorv condltioo, the county inSpector Iris tlie power to hold back the amount of tlie conunon fund allottcd to it untll the neélect no longer exi.sts. Under our present system of allowhig taxpayers to work out their highway tax, imder the dlrectton of pithinasters, tlie work is often done 1(1 an indifferent, wasteful and useless inauner, and at unscasonahlc timet. This gysteni should be stopped, and instead, all labor should be periorined by men experienced in rond iuakinL and repairint;, and divide. I ai to time and place, iiccordiHfr to the necessilics of i'acli locaüty. No disrespect Is meant to the faithful pathuiiisters and lliDse under them, for they undoubtedly do the best they can, under a system so liiillv and imperfect. Under the present system repairs are jlenerally delayed too loiifr, lor to no departmi'iit of public wui k (loi's tlie old and familiar ada)fc, " A ptitch in time saves nine," more truly and iiptly apply (ban that of road repairin;;, and mi this account the labor of experienced men should at all times be under the immediate cali of those having supervisión. The principal reason why the celebrated boulevards of Paris are always so wonderfully even and smooth is, that the keen eyes of expert repairers are always on the lookout for any little break or depression, and whenever a single block of wood or ttone sinks too low to sustain its fuli share of the passing load, imiuediate rtteiltiOD is given to raising it to the proper level. Tilia prevenís the weijiht of vehieles dropping down and dealing riedgs liannntr blows to the next hlock, which are certaiti to force If, and the followin; ones out of place, and thus rapldly augment the break. Tliis principie applies not only to city pavements, but to uil kinds of roads, and all along the sides of the turnpikes of Kugland and the continent are found small piles of gravel or broken stone comvenient for the ever ready repulrer to mond any wenk spot as soon as it appears. In Europe It is claimed for macadamized roads that they reuder the lands along the line so much more saleablo it incienses their value more thau the entire cost of lalior and material expended upon them. That they reduce the wear and tear to n minimum, or at least oneli'ilf, aud euable one horse to perform as much work upon them as two on a comniDii dirt rond. They make t possible for the farmer and gardner to coinumnd markets at all seasons of the year and In all kinds of weather. That the sfivinji of time going and returning is ¦] ui valen t to belng located much uearer uniiket, and when once th roads are well built the cost of repairi and main[enance is exceeüingly lijfht. To urn up the whole muiter, il is claimed that, altlmüfrh irood roads are somewhat expensive at tirst, they cost less in the end han poor ones, and they add much to the comfort, happiness and well being of everyoue fortúnate eüough to enjoy thnni. This is an excecdingly dry subject, but nevel theless an important one to many sectioiis of the United States, and whenever the matter receives the attentlon it deaerves, and the greater econouiy and many aüvantages rood roads offer over poor ones are tully understood nnd valued, our country will do Hself proud in this respect, as it does in everything it


Ann Arbor Courier
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