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JIM: Columbia's Good Condition, January, 1909

Finances were good. All bills were paid. And the City Council was Pedestrian Conscious - with many rods of sidewalks decreed.
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In January, 1909, in an article headlined "Columbia's Good Condition," the Adair County News crowed with pride over all that had been accomplished in the city during the year just ended, stating, "Within that period considerable improvement has been made, by the council and the citizens of the town..." The piece went on to observe that while the work done in 1908 "for the public good" had not been phenomenal, it was "a decided advance over other years and of such a nature as to be permanent and invigorating to the citizens of Columbia."

During the course of 1908, the city council had decreed that many rods of concrete walks be put down by owners whose property fronted on city streets. The News had no exact figures on hand but noted "the number far exceeds all previous years."

Sidewalks would be required to first crossings from Square

The July 29, 1908 edition of the paper remarked that sidewalks would be required "out each street to the first crossing" but that a number enterprising citizens who lived farther out had already put down walkways and others were preparing to follow suit. The article specifically noted that "by the middle of August the stretch from the square to 'Squire' John Eubank's shop" would be completed.

Streets received 756 loads of gravel, 1,030 perches of crushed stone

As far as the streets themselves, no fewer than 756 loads of gravel and 1,030 perch of crushed stone had been brought in, mostly to repair or shore up weak and rough places in existing streets "but some new street was made and a gravel walk bordering the City Cemetery built." In addition, "Several additional [street] lights were secured and at places badly needed."

But Campbellsville Street resident felt slighted

In the March 11, 1908 paper, a letter penned by "F. McL." -- Fred McLean -- and headlined by the News as "A Dig at Town Board," mentioned the board had met the previous Thursday and passed an ordinance "locating a number of additional 50 candle power lights on the various thoroughfares and streets of town." Mr. McLean expressed displeasure at the perceived slighting of Campbellsville Street residents by "thanking" the members of the city council "for that lonesome little light which will be swung in the breeze at the bridge," then appended, with biting humor, "but we don't need it, and a motion is made and seconded that it be moved to the head of Burkesville Street." Elsewhere in that edition, the paper noted without farther remark, "The town will put in ten more lights."

And the amazing part? After all the expenses mentioned here (as well as others) were paid, Columbia ended the calendar year on sound financial footing: "The figures as we get them show that $1,072.12 stands to the credit of the town and every debt paid."

"All this has been accomplished through the good judgment, conservative action of the Council and Town Marshall and not a dollar has been spent without bringing full worth...Here's hoping that 1909 will prove a record breaker for Columbia in public improvements, in industrial advancement and in moral and intellectual growth."

Dare we hope for the same, these 105 years later? - JIM

This story was posted on 2014-01-16 04:56:57
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