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Material for Road Beds

Date Published: 
September, 1896
Original Author: 
S. W. Rubee
Original Publication: 
AACS Proceedings of the 10th Annual Convention

Not long ago, I was asked by our worthy Secretary to prepare a short paper for this convention, and to select some subject of my own choice. I reluctantly consented, knowing that practical papers on the most important subjects pertaining to the advancement of cemeteries have been presented and read by able men of this association, but feeling it a duty, as a member to respond when called upon, I consented.

In looking over the proceedings of conventions held prior to this, my at¬tention was called to a paper on the construction and maintenance of roads, by Manton E. Hibbs, C. E., from the Bureau of City Surveys, Philadelphia, and read at the eighth annual convention which I found very interesting and practical.

In speaking of the road-bed, Mr. Hibbs favors the Macadam-Telford this kind will, without doubt, meet with the approval of all who are interested in the management of cemeteries, but while we may all agree on this point, the question arises, "Are we in a financial condition to bear the expense of road-beds of this kind?"

We are all aware, I believe, that the majority of cemeteries laid out and platted thirty years ago, or any time prior to that, were as a rule laid out by some incompetent person whose one aim seemed to be to divide up a tract of ground at right angles, in such a manner as to give avenue access to as many lots as possible, disregarding the park or lawn plan sought after in laying out cemeteries at the present time, and thereby using about one-third of his land for avenue purposes. In many cemeteries this error is overcome by converting the unnecessary avenues into lots, and should be encouraged everywhere; but when such errors exist and cannot be remedied one can readily see what an expensive and everlasting undertaking it would be to macadam all streets in such cemeteries, especially where the cash balance in the treasury is limited.

I will therefore endeavor to speak of a material that might be used with good results, at a very small cost, and it is nothing more or less than coal cinders produced from burning poor coal, commonly called slag, and can be had in nearly all cities having manufacturing plants.

Perhaps it might be well to state how we construct and maintain roads of this kind in Riverside. We do all grading and excavating for roads in the fall, at an average depth of twelve (12) inches, and allowing that depth to be filled in with this material during the winter months when other improve¬ments are practically at a stand still. The majorities of our avenues are eighteen (18) feet in width, and have a lawn margin on each side of from three and one half to four feet, including gutters, the majority of which are of sod.

In the early springtime the material is put in proper order by being leveled and thoroughly rolled. It is of great importance to use plenty of water when this is done and in finishing the same, which makes it very compact.

The average cost of making road- beds of this kind is about one dollar for everyone hundred square feet of road surface, and is therefore, I believe, within the reach of all cemeteries doing business on business principles.

The cost of maintenance is also very small. When depressions occur by constant travel, they are filled with fresh material; this however, seldom oc¬curs where road-beds are frequently sprinkled. I might add that I have seen .roads of this kind traveled over by heavy dray wagons bearing monumental work, weighing from three to four tons, after heavy rains, making depressions scarcely noticeable. I would therefore recommend road making of this kind in cemeteries where Macadam-Telford is too expensive.

From the publication:
AACS - Proceedings of the 10th Annual Convention
Held at St. Louis, MO
September 15, 16 and 17, 1896