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The times dispatch. [volume] (Richmond, Va.) 1903-1914, July 29, 1912, Image 3

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Persistent link: https://chroniclingamerica.loc.gov/lccn/sn85038615/1912-07-29/ed-1/seq-3/

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An open letter to the citizens of Richmond and the Broad Street Merchants (in
particular), and the Council and Aldermanic Boards.
In March of this year the question "f smooth pavement for Broad Street was under discussion by the Retail .Merchant-' Association, the. city having previously appropriated the sum of $50,000 for the paving
of seven blocks on this -ucct.
At a meeting of the City Council he! I On the evening of March 8 this question was referred to a subcommittee of five, and representatives of the Retail Merchants' Association appeared before the committee and
urged the adoption of some form of smooth pavement to take the place of the granite pavement now on Broad Street. Mr. Corlcy, as spokesman of this committee, spoke in opposition to the use of granite block and,
voicing the sentiment of the Retail Merchants' Association, stated that they would he sati-ficd with the selection of any form of standard smooth pavement which the Street Committee deemed advisable, after proper
investigation. Subsequent discussion of the form of pavement to be used among the Retail Merchants' Association and members of the Council led to a further statement on the part of the Retail Merchants' Associa?
tion that they would be satisfied with the Street Committee's recommendation, and articles appearing in the local paper- for several days subsequent to this meeting indicated the willingness of the Retail Merchants'
Association to be entirely satisfied with the adoption of any form of standard smooth pavement.
Pursuant to the action of the subcommittee, the City Engineer was instructed to advertise for bids on sevi :1 forms of standard smooth pavement, Bitulithic include.!: and no adverse sentiment of Broad
Street merchants <>r other interested partic- to the use of Bitulithic having been advanced up to this time, it was only reasonable to presume that such forms of pavements as were advertised for would have a fair
opportunity to present their claims to the considcrationof the Council, and that the action of the Street Committee in reference to the selection of the pavement to be used would meet with the approval of the Broad
Street merchants, consequently we submitted a proposal for the work, and have for the past four months been parties to the argument as to what is the best form of smooth pavement suited to the requirements of Broad
Street traffic; and as we believe the sole question at issue is the selection of the best form of pavement, we present below a few facts in substantiation of our claims that Bitulithic is preferable to asphalt block, and we
respectfully request that all interested parties will carefully read and digest this argument before reaching a final decision of the questions involved.
The local press doubtless means to be fair in their expressions of opinion, but nevertheless have published -tatements totally inconsistent with the facts and manifestlv unfair to a home concern, having its
headquarter- in Richmond for the past five year-, doing nearly a million dollars annually of business through local banks, and seeking an opportunity to demonstrate to the citizens of Richmond the true, merit and worth
of a high-grade standard form of smooth pavement in use in o\ er 259 citie- and towns in the United States, and increasing yearly in ppopularity among engineers and citizens, and pronounced bv a great majority of the
people as being the most popular form of bituminous pavement in the country.
We give below a sample extract from newspaper publications which are entirely inconsistent with the facts, and such statements, uncontradicted, might be well calculated to influence the judgment and opinions
of those whose uty it is to settle this questoin :
FROM THE JEWS LEADER. July 12. 1912:
"Durability Bitulithic paving three to five years."
"Salvage for reuse small percentage of material.''
"Cost of repairs large percentage origVal cost."
Salvage for reuse?All original material. Cost of repairs?Very small percentage of original cost.
The above statements are grossly inaccurate and manifestly unfair, as many Bitulithic. pavements laid in the year 1901 and subjected to heavy traffic conditions are to-dav in first-class condition, having required
no repairs of any kind.
Clippings from all the local papers commenting upon the merits or demerits of Bitulithic and published since, the recommendation of the Street Committee that Broad Street be paved with Bitulithic are on
file in this office, but the expense of rcpublishing and space required prevents our calling specific attention to all such unfair statements. Though we are inclined to believe that verbal arguments even more inaccurate
and unfair have been used to influence the judgment and opinion of members of the Council and Aldermanic bodies, as. for example, a member of the Council stated to a representative of the Bitulithic. Company that some
of the advocates of the use of asphalt block had offered to wager that the Bitulithic people had laid the street paving around the Old Market, and it was the same form of pavement we propose to lay on Broad Street.
As a general denial to all such statement-, wc reiterate the fact that we have never laid a yard of Bitulithic in the City of Richmond, nor in the City of Washington, and that Bitulithic pavement is not similar to sheet as?
phalt, such as laid around the Old Market and on North Eighth Street, but entirely different in form of material and construction.
Another unfair attack upon our pavement is brought in the form of a pamphlet entitled "THE EXPERIMENT THAT FAILED." This is unsigned, therefore anonymous and worthy of no consideration;
but as it has been extensively circulated and commented upon, we beg leave to state on the last page of this circular appears the picture of a tombstone, inscribed "Bitulithic. died in the. year 1911." In this year of our
"demise" we contracted for over six trillion square yards of Bitulithic. an increase over the previous year of more than forty per cent. I'p to July I. 1912 (the year after "we were buried" 1 wc have contracted for over four
million square yards of Bitulithic pavement, showing an increased demand during the first six months of the present year of twenty per cent, over that of 1911. yet such stuff has been frcclv exhibited by opponents
of Bitulithic and u-ed in an attempt to di-credit our claims. We have been further accused by a merchant, very prominent in his expressions of opposition to our pavement, of maintaining a strong "lobby," which has
been perniciously active at the City Hall and among Broad Street merchants. The inaccuracy of this statement must be apparent to members of the Council and Aldermanic boards, also to all Broad Street merchants,
while the FACTS are that our opponents, aided by the efforts of the Broad Street merchants, have outdistanced us as 'lobbyists."
Attention has been called to "failures'' of Bitulithic in the cities of Chicago, St. Louis and Newport Neu - Wc cheerfully and candidly concede that in the laying of over twenty-three million square yards of
Bitulithic pavement, during a period of eleven years, we have made some failures, and we challenge the manufacturers or contractors engaged in the making and laying of any form of street pavement to deny that they
have also marie failures. Such percentage of failures in the case of Bitulithic pavement is less than one-tenth of 1 per cent, of total area laid and due to impractical form of base or some unavoidable accident during pro?
gress of construction. We have had NO failure- on concrete base.
To any parties interested in the circulation of literature or photographs in substantiation of above claims that failures have been made in the use and construction of all forms of standard pavement we are pre?
pared to submit an abundance of evidence, but, as previously stated, we have always considered this form of ' knocking" a poor way to secure business.
Believing that the main question at issue is whether asphalt block or Bitulithic is the best form of pavement for Broad Street, w e herewith ?ubmit some facts and letters in reference to both forms of pav ement,
which wc trust will aid in the solution of the question.
An extract from the Municipal Journal and Engineer, under date of August 10. 1910:
Newark. N. J.?The Board of Works Commissioners and Chief Engineer M. R. Sherrcrd, with Street Engineer Howell, have returned from an inspection of asphalt block paved streets in New
York. Brooklyn and Statcn Island. While the trip was made with an idea of learning the adaptability of the material for Market Street, it was the consensus of opinion of the inspecting party that it would
not be suitable for that thoroughfare or any other where there, is heavy traffic.
We ask consideration of the following letters selected from many of a similar character, and while referring to the puhlication of such opinions or testimonials, wc hereby state our willingness to have all
Inters received by the City Engineer, or any Broad Street merchant or daily papers published in full, together with letter of inquiry, whether favorable to Bitulithic or otherwise, being entirely satisfied that we.
are in position to successfully support our claims that Bitulithic. is not only the best form of pavement for Broad Street, but is offered at a considerable saving of expense, ami if adopted will prove, as it has in other
cities, the most satisfactory to the public in general, particularly the owners of horses and automobile-, as wc point with considerable pride to the fact that the bitterest opponents to the adoption of Bitulithic in other
cities are to-day its warmest advocates after having given it a fair trial. The only adverse opinions on Bitulithic from out-of-town so far appearing in the press have been expressions from a jeweler in Newark.
N. 1 . to which wc have already effectively replied, and a statement from City Engineer McCoy, of Baltimore. They have over ten miles of Bitulithic in the city of Baltimore, and Mr. McCoy is on record as staling
that it is a good pavement, and the members of the Paving Commission arc unanimous in voicing the same opinion. We refer any one interested to Mr. Keith Compton. Chairman of the Paving Commission, of Baltimore. Md.
According to the newspapers, Mr. McCoy expressed hut one objection, and that was the matter of its cost over that of sheet asphalt.
Form of Inquiry
July 25, 1512.
Mr. Edward W. Quirin. Furt. Streets. Cambridge. Mass :
Dear .sir.?We are considering the selection of a smooth
pavement for one of our principal streets, and have par?
ticularly In mind asphalt block or bitulithic. A committee
from our city, on a recent Inspection trip, was favorably
Impressed with bitulithic Would you kindly give us your
experience. If any, with either of these forms of pavement
and your preference?
Yours very truly.
W.E.S. Member City Council.
Otis F. Clapp. City Engineer.
I'rovldcncc, R. I., July 23, 1912.
ilr. W. E. Sullivan.
Member City Council. Richmond. Va.:
Dear Sir,?Your letter of the 20th Instant in relation to
forms of pavement Is received. We haw a little more man a
mile of bitulithic pavement put down about three years ago.
It Is working finely. It Is on two parallel streets that are
used by automobiles largely, and la proving to be very good
for such use. This was put down by the Warren liros. i
think 1? is the best of those you mention.
Yours respectfully,
OTIs |\ CliAP.t,
City Engineer.
July 23, 1913.
Kr. W. E. Sullivan,
4 North Tenth Street, Richmond, Va.:
Dear Sir,?I have yours of the 2uth Instant In relation to
smooth pavement, and would ntlvl^o that In this city wo have
laid over one hundred thousand yards of bitulithic pavement
on many of our principal streets.
Thin particular kind of pavement has been laid in s'i'iw
cases since 1901, and wo have laid It every year slnco ' 9W>.
This present year we have contracted for several thoueand
more yards.
Wo have had universal satisfaction with the pavement,
and haw- made provision for Its use for some years to come.
There has been no repairs needed on any of It since laid.
It makes a beautiful appearance, and although smooth, is not
I should be pleased to give you any further Informantn
you might desire, and remain.
Very truly yours,
Superintendent of Streets
Member of the American S'oclcty of Civil Engineers.
Kalaniazoo, Mich., July 22, 1912.
Mr. W. B. Sullivan,
Richmond, Va.:
Dear Sir. ? Your Inquiry of 20th Is at hand 1 would much
prefer bitulithic pavement to the other kind you mention.
It has been In service here for ten years without surfacing,
and is now In good condition and popular.
Wry truly yours.
Office, of
V.'m. W. Southgatc,
City Engineer.
Ckarles w Wain,
Assist. Engineer.
J. C. Evans.
Chief Draughtsman
Nashville, Tenr... July 21. 1912.
Mr. W. E Sullivan.
Richmond, Va.:
Dear Sir.?Replying to your inquiry of the 20th resardn.^
"Bitulithic" paving: We have had ten years' experience with
?'Warren's Bitulithic*' paving on streets sustaining hoayy
traffic. The pavement has given satisfactory sorvicr Cost
of maintenance and repairs has been quite reasonable, i'ne,
pavement Is durable, quiet, clean, sanitary and ntfordl ? good
trot hold. It Is popular here, and we are continuing its use.
We have no r.sphalt.
Yours truly,
City Engtiiee:
Masonic Building.
Gco. A. Carpenter,
Member Am. Soc. C. E ,
City Engineer.
Pawturke.t. R. j.. July 22. 1912.
Mr. W. E. Sullivan.
1 North Tenth Street. Richmond, Va.:
Dear Sir.?Replying to yours of the 25th inquiring about
bitulithic pavement, I would say that we have about ?7, ItMl
square yards In this city, the first of which was laid in I BOT,
Our experienc with this pavement has been very satisfactory.
We have never used any asphalt block paving In this city.
Yours truly,
City K.nglneer.
Theodore S. Oxholm, ting, in Charge,
Office of the
Geo. Cromwell.
President of the Borough.
I.ouis E. Trihus.
Consulting Engineer and Acting
Commissioner of Public Works.
Borough Hall. New Brighton. Now York City.
July 22, 1912.
W. E Sullivan. Esq..
I North Tenth Street. Richmond. Va.:
Dear Sir.?In reply to yours of the 19th Instant requesting
our experience In the use of asphalt block and bitulithic
pavements, will state that there is no question In my mind
that a good bitulithic pavement is far superior to a ffood
asphalt block pavement We are replacing nil of our asphalt
block pavements of six years of age and over with other pave?
ments, as they seem to bo anected by climatic conditions.
Irrespective of traffic The bitulithic pavement, however, must
he ."?. good one.
The "Topeka specifications." which we are now using to
some extent, due in an Injunction by the Warren Bros against
the straight bitulithic pavement, is not as good as thetr
pa vement.
If it Is possible for you to use the Warren Bros.' specifica?
tions or some that are practically the same, [ would advise
your doing so.
Yours very truly,
Ehglnebr In ?'b?rge
Third Avenue and E. 177th St.
Office of the Chief Engineer of Sewers and Highways.
Cyrus C. Miller. President.
Richard H. Olllesplo, Chief Engineer.
July 23, 1912.
Mr. W. E. Sullivan,
Member City Council,
4 North Tenth Street, Richmond. Va.:
Dear Sir.?I beg to acknowledge yours of tho U'th instant,
stating that you are considering the paving or ono of your
principal and most heavily traveled thoroughfares with
asphalt blocks, and requesting Information as to what my
experience Is with tBIs type of pavement,
I desire to say that the authorities or the Korough of the
Bronx began to lav asphalt block pavement about nine years
ago. and since, that time have laid In the neighborhood or
fifty-five miles of such pavement. We have let several con?
tracts this year for repaving some of the streets that were
laid with asphalt blocks eight or nine years ago. A number
of other streets, where the pavement was laid six to eight
years ago and subjected to heavy traffic, should at this time
be repaved. During the present season we have eliminated
entirely the use of asphalt block pavement on heavy traitlc
Chiof Engineer of .-'ewers and Highways.
W. .1 Hardeo, Thos. L Willis, Eeon .Mauberret,
City Engineer Principal Asst. Engr. Chlet Clerk.
New Orleans, La., July 23, 1912.
Sullivan ?? Company,
Richmond, y.i :
Gentlemen.?Replying to yours of the ::'th instant. I take
pleasuro in handing you herewith copy of letter I have this
day addressed to the Richmond Evening Journal In reply to
an Inquiry of th ?. said paper as to our experience in tills city
with bitulithic pavement, which I believe will furnish you
the information you desire.
We have no asphalt block pavement in this city, and as
I have had no personal experience with the same, t am not
In a pnsitlin to express any intelligent opinion concerning
Its merit
Very respectfully.
City Engineer.
(Copv. >
W. J. Hardee. Thos t. Willis. tx>on Mauborret,
City Engineer Trtnclpal Asst. Engr <'hief cierK.
New Orleans. Ea., July 23, 1912.
The Richmond Evening Journal.
Richmond, Va.:
Gentlemen.? I beg to advise that the statement issued by
the Southern Bitulithic Company aa to the amount or their
pavement laid In this city, which statement accompanied your
letter of tho 19th Instant, is correct.
Thero are twenty-four streets paved with bitulithic In this
city, the first of which was completed on March 19, 19tW.
all were laid on a six-Inch cor.crolo foundation and a bltulitntc
wearing surface two Inches In thickness. The cost or thesa
pavoments ranged from $2.67 to $2.95 per squaro yard
Strictly spenklng. these pavements are all on residential
streets, but as we have, no regulation governing tratllc, many
of them are extensively used In a commercial way, ao that
our bitulithic pavement on Howard Aveniio and also on St.
i"hirles Avenue, while In tho residential section, carry aa
great volume of traffic, both as to number or vehicles and
tonnage, as Usually operate on business streets All the. httn
Itthlo p.avem'mt we have has proven entirely satisfactory la
all respects and fully met our expectations
Very respectfully.
City Engineer.

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