Home The Columnists In The Beginning Proposed New Charter, Narcoossee Road and Grade Crossing Poster Contest

Proposed New Charter, Narcoossee Road and Grade Crossing Poster Contest

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By Robert A. Fisk

Back to the Melbourne road in the November 29, 1923 Tribune: “At the Chamber of Commerce meeting in St. Cloud”

“At the November 29 meeting of the Chamber of Commerce meeting … Mr. U J. Burroughts of Kissimmee spoke and part of the talk was about the Melbourne road, He stated that a committee from Kissimmee had made a trip over the road in order to see just what condition it was in. He stated that from present appearances the road would not be completed for a long time, but that the committee succeeded in getting a promise to open a stretch of the paving that has been completed for some time.

The matter was discussed at length by several members and co-operating between Kissimmee and St. Cloud and Melbourne was urged in keeping behind the movement in order that all progress possible should be made.”

The length of time in the construction of that road is unbelievable in this modern age, but remember, road building of the type needed for automobile travel was in its infancy and there were no heavy equipment for the job.

Now, let’s get back to the proposed new charter for St. Cloud and the editor, Mr. Claude Johnson, discusses the opinions of the public.

“The consensus of opinion is that law-makers should not serve in services to the city during such days then when they meet in the daytime as councilmen they must neglect not only their own duties as street commissioner, sanitary officer, etc., while in session but their own personal business affairs if they, are in business, and if they meet at night they are compelled to give longer hours of service to the city during such days that one usually gives to regular business affairs of their own.

It was pointed out that a board to make new city ordinances and proper officials to oversee their endorsement. Men of high class can be employed by the city to do the regular work of the various departments in a more satisfactory manor than under the present system.

Only in the case of city clerk and tax collector does the present system work out to any degree of general satisfaction and even in that of ice, when the council is in session, which is several times each month unless an assistant is in the job that clerk has to leave the council session to wait on city patrons at the city hall, or keep such patrons waiting until after the session is over.

The matters to be taken up at the mass meeting is general discussion of the best way to change things for the good of the city. Least of these, is the matter of arranging the officers so that our good women can serve where they want to without being pared in embarrassing positions by holding dual offices.

Every voter and taxpayer is urged to be present at the meeting on January 16, at the G.A.R. Hall.”

St. Cloud had advanced to a city in a very short time and with the change it was realized that there had to be a change in how the city business had to make a change. It is interesting that when the ladies asked the council for the right to vote they instructed the city attorney to draft the necessary paper work at the same meeting and now we see the council, on their own, talking about giving the ladies the right to run for public office.  I assume that there might have been a little pillow lobbying in the background.

We find out a little more about it in the February 21, 1924 issue of the Tribune: “NARCOOSSEE BOULEVARD WILL BE SIXTEEN FEET IN WIDTH.”

“NARCOOSSEE, Fla. Feb. 20.– Narcoossee Boulevard, which is the name of the hard-surfaced road that will connect Narcoossee and Saint Cloud with Orlando, is to be sixteen feet in width, but exact material with which it will be built, has not as yet been selected, although it is more than probable it will be asphalt as the road with which it will connect is of that material.

The committee of the Narcoossee Board of Trade which has charge of the matter, has collected much data on the subject, and find that a sixteen-foot road is but a trifle more costly than one of nine feet with three foot shoulders, and as the comfort and convenience, to say nothing of the safety of life and the wear on cars, there can be no possible comparisons in the two widths. This decision to make the Narcoossee Boulevard sixteen feet wide was recommended to the Board of Trade at its meeting on Friday night, an unanimously approved.

Beginning next week, the petition that an election be called to bond this district to build this boulevard will be circulated, and up to the present not a taxpayer in this section but who had signified his intention to sign it is believed the same for the road will be found in St. Cloud.”

I imagine that it will come as some surprise to the present population of Narcoossee that that road is the “Narcoossee Boulevard.”

We are so used to some things that it is a surprise to find that it was something new, and with the new cars caused a lot thought of event.

The February 7, 1924 issue of the Tribune tells us about it: “PRISES OFFERED FOR RAILROAD WARNING POSTERS”

“Preliminary to an extensive campaign to be inaugurated in an effort to bring about a reduction in the number of grade crossing accidents which annually causes thousands of causalities, the American Railway Association today announced plans for a nationwide contest open to the general public, for the most expressive poster and slogan to be used throughout the nation in connection with the crusade to save lives at railroad crossings.

“For the first prize, $500 will be paid the person submitting the best poster with $200 for second prize and $100 for third. In addition, cash will be paid to the person submitting the best slogan for the campaign.

Selection of the winners will be made by a special committee composed of persons of national prominence. The personnel of this committee will be announced later.

The contest will be conducted under the auspices of the committee for the Prevention of Highway Crossing Fatalities of the American Railway Association, H. A. Rowe, 90 West St., N. Y. is chairman of this committee. The contest will close on February 1 (since 1925), at which time all persons must have their posters in the hands of the committee.

The campaign to prevent the number of grade crossing fatalities is stimulated by the fact that in 1924 it is estimated that not less than 2,500 persons, or more than 200 a month, will lose their lives at railroad crossings due almost entirely to automobile accidents while approximately 6,000 persons will be injured, or about 500 a month. Another reason for conducting an intensive campaign is the fact that during the present year of 1924 it is estimated that there will be fifteen million automobiles in use, and increase of approximately twenty per cent over the preceding year.

The railroads are annually doing everything possible to reduce the number of grade crossings. In order to further to protect the lives of autoists and others at such places now improved safety devises are constantly being installed. To eliminate all grade crossings, however, would not only be a physical but a financial impossibility on the part of rail carriers. Reports by the Interstate Commerce Commission show that in 1922 there were 256,362 grade crossings and to do away with these would mean an expenditure of approximation five billion dollars more than the tentative valuation made by the Interstate Commission of all railroad properties used by the carriers for transportation purposes. The railroads did in 1922, according to the Commission eliminated grade crossings at an estimated cost of approximated cost of approximately $70,000,000.”

In view of today’s situation, the nation was just entering the new age in transportation and its problems. In horse and buggy days grade crossings were not a problem but the advent of the automobile changed everything. Some of the figures in the article are really impressive today.