University of Wisconsin Digital Collections
Link to University of Wisconsin Digital Collections
Link to University of Wisconsin Digital Collections
The History Collection

Nolen, John, 1869-1937 / Madison : a model city (1911)

Previous Previous section

Next section Next



 

[chapter 4]

  [p. 87]     [p. 88]  

When a city or town doubles its population, its original personality is largely lost. It has changed its character as a city, and is no longer confined to the wants it once felt, nor amenable to the rules that once controlled its councils. As localities come to be more and more densely settled, not only are new duties imposed upon their governments, but the performance of accustomed duties requires greater care and expenditure. The extension of the police department, for example, must be proportionally more rapid than the growth of the city in numbers, for density of population breeds crime. The same is true of the health department: Disease springs from filth, and filth is the natural consequence of crowded quarters. Cleanliness cannot be expected, where many people are packed together, unless made the care of the government; and the difficulty of keeping a city clean is increased as tenement houses multiply. In a small town the demand for water may be cheaply met; but double the numbers, and a sufficient water supply frequently becomes the occasion for great expense. It is the same with sewerage, streets, and pavements. Dirt roads and surface drainage do not answer for populous cities. New wants also are developed by growth. A country village, where land is cheap, and each house may be surrounded by its grass-plot, is in no need of a public park; but in a densely crowded city these breathing-places are essential for morals as well as health.

"Public Debts." - H. C. ADAMS.

  [p. 89]  

IV. MADISON AS A PLACE OF RESIDENCE

Closely associated with and in some respects resulting from Madison's development as a governmental and educational center, is Madison's advance as a residence city and summer resort. But Madison's main claim as a place to live in or a place to visit rests upon the beautiful lakes and the unique achievements in park making of the Park and Pleasure Drive Association. These lakes and parks have heretofore given Madison a place of high distinction among residence cities of the Middle West, a place it cannot continue to hold, however, without a radical change with regard to future civic improvements. While the city was small, the natural, unspoiled beauty and charm of the site counted for much, and the public parks and drives, although limited, were effective. Now, with the growth of the city, the situation is rapidly changing. The lake shores are becoming more and more built upon and less and less available to the public; railroad tracks and crossings, poles and overhead wires, are all steadily increasing; street trees are rapidly deteriorating, and more and more unsightliness appears on every hand. As a beautiful city, Madison has a present tendency not upward but downward, because the changes noted above are not counteracted by a constructive civic policy leading to better railroad approaches, better looking streets, finer residence sections, more parks and playgrounds, in fact, better city planning. It is time to recognize that one important element in Madison's prosperity is its beauty, indeed, that this - if the broad and true meaning is given to the term - is the most important element in the control of the people.

  [p. 90]  

The railroads appear to be the most serious factor in Madison's unmaking. Their approaches both in East and West Madison are inconvenient and ugly, their yards are located too near the center of the city, their tracks occupy what was a particularly beautiful stretch of lake front, crossing an arm of the lake in South Madison; and they actually run through the grounds of the University. Within two miles of the center of the city the three railroad companies have branched out so as to form nearly

Drawing of New Union Depot, Washington, D. C.

THE NEW UNION DEPOT AT WASHINGTON, D. C.

An appropriate gateway for the National Capital.

a dozen different railroad entrances to the city with all the accompanying objections and dangers. Little if any care seems to have been taken to eliminate grade crossings; indeed, in some locations (as at Mills Street) where the topography made the elimination of the grade crossing easy and natural, the street was actually filled up to the level of the railroad. No one who studies or carefully observes the cities of the United States, can fail to be impressed with the irreparable harm and financial loss due to the reckless fashion in which city councils and state legislatures have given the railroads apparently whatever they asked for, a policy which still prevails in many places, and which undoubtedly has been one of the chief causes of wholesale city corruption and municipal misgovernment. And the railroads, on their part, through   [p. 91]  

Photo of Railroad Approach, Madison, Wisconsin

EAST MADISON RAILROAD APPROACH.

First impression of Wisconsin's State Capital.

Photo of Railroad Approach, Madison, Wisconsin

Another impression of Madison from the railroad just before the train enters the station.

  [p. 92]   selfishness and greed, have exacted from cities locations and privileges which make now a decent development of many of these cities well-nigh impossible. Railroads are important factors and should be conveniently and adequately provided for; more so, in fact, than heretofore. No one questions that. But a comparison of the plans of American cities with those of Germany or other countries will show in what different ways this provision can be

Photo of C., M. & St. Paul Depot, Madison

EAST MADISON WITH THE C., M. & ST. PAUL DEPOT.

The C. & N. W. depot is diagonally across the street. This site is not only the natural railroad approach but with it could be easily combined the water approach.

made. Just as soon as we get seriously to work to secure order and safety and convenience in the cities of the United States, we shall realize how formidable are the problems which the railroads present.

With a view of correcting the evils of the railroad approaches in East Madison, a plan was prepared a year ago, providing for a union station for the Chicago, Milwaukee   [p. 93]   and St. Paul, and the Chicago and Northwestern, (now across the street from each other), the elimination of the grade crossings in that neighborhood, and the restoration of the Monona Lake front to the people. Since that time, the Chicago and Northwestern line has begun the construction of a new station which, no doubt, as a

Photo of Railroad Station, Sao Paulo, Brazil

The railroad station, Sao Paulo, Brazil, a small state capital not unlike Madison in requirements.

building, will be an improvement on the old shack, but which is being built in the same location with no bettering whatever of surroundings or of general facilities for the public. The railroad situation in Madison is not hopeful from the point of view of the city, but the city and the State should do all that is still possible to secure relief from the present almost intolerable conditions.

  [p. 94]  

Better looking streets is another urgent need of Madison. Except around Capitol Square, I believe there are no wires underground. Elsewhere, on State Street, on the main business streets, in the principal residence sections, surrounding the parks, nearly everywhere, unsightly poles and wires appear in profusion. Some way should be found to remove gradually practically every pole and overhead wire from the streets of Madison. It is folly to

Photos of Water Approach to Madison, Wisconsin

THE WATER APPROACH TO MADISON.

Showing also the East Madison station of the C., M. & St. Paul Railroad.

  [p. 95]   reply that it is impossible when a small city like La Crosse accomplished it unaided a decade ago.

The removal of the poles from the streets would prepare the way for a better method of planting and maintaining street trees. At present the trees in the streets of Madison are not under public control and every attempt to place them there has been defeated in the city council. Seldom does one see even a single well-located, well-developed street tree and never a row of good trees a block long. Madison - and it is true of Wisconsin generally - holds tenaciously to individual rights and is less willing than cities in other parts of the country to place the care of the street trees in the hands of a properly constituted public body. It seems unnecessary to state so

Photo of Water Approach to Geneva, Switzerland

THE WATER APPROACH TO GENEVA, SWITZERLAND.

Compare with views on opposite page.

  [p. 96]   obvious a thing as the value of good trees in city streets, nor the impossibility of getting good street trees under individual control. In the notes at the back of this report is printed a proposed street tree ordinance, modeled

Photo of State Street, Madison, poles and wires

STATE STREET, MADISON.

The most necessary improvement of State Street is the prompt removal of all poles and wires.

after those of the more progressive cities in other parts of the country where trees are looked upon as a civic asset.4

The history of the Madison Park and Pleasure Drive Association is pleasant reading to any one interested in the improvement of cities; it is likewise pleasant reading to any one interested in good citizenship. Under the inspiring and compelling leadership of John M. Olin, this Association has established a world record. For seventeen   [p. 97]   years with steadily increasing success, he has succeeded in collecting in Madison, in small voluntary subscriptions, an average of twenty thousand dollars a year, making in all a total of a quarter of a million dollars. He

Photo of State Street, encroachment of business

A VIEW OF STATE STREET, MADISON.

Illustrating the way in which the distance between buildings is being constantly contracted by rebuilding closer and closer to the sidewalk. It would be to the advantage of every one, including the land owners of State Street, if a building line could be fixed for all property west of Gilman Street beyond which it would be illegal to build. Such building regulations have been passed in other cities. The building line law should also be applied to some other streets in Madison. Massachusetts has a law by which a compulsory building line may be established at the time any street or highway is laid out.

has also succeeded in having this work organized with all the effectiveness characteristic of the best private business and directed from the beginning by specially qualified men. As a result, Madison has today in Tenney Park, Henry Vilas Park, Brittingham Park, the Yahara Parkway and the Lake Shore and other drives, a   [p. 98]  

Drawing of Tenney Park, Madison

GENERAL PLAN OF TENNEY PARK

Tenney Park, made from marsh land, is one of the creations of the Madison Park and Pleasure Drive Association, a fine example of the achievements of voluntary park work.

Map: The Park System of the City of Madison, Wisconsin

THE PARK SYSTEM
OF THE
CITY OF MADISON
WISCONSIN

  [p. 99]   series of beautiful pleasure grounds, many of which were unsanitary and unsightly marsh land. It is no small achievement to bring about such a result, to secure for one's own city for all time, 150 acres or more of well-located, well-developed park lands, with a score of miles of pleasure drives in addition, and to do it not by a few large gifts, but by awakening the civic pride of a body of citizens a thousand strong, each ready to give

Photo of Wading Pool, Tenney Park, Madison

Tenney Park Wading Pool, Madison.

systematically and generously from the limited means at his disposal. Praise should be accorded in unstinted measure to Mr. Olin, to his faithful associates on the Board of Directors and to the large body which has given him the indispensable moral and financial backing. There is a place in city betterment, a permanent place, I believe, for voluntary action. It must be depended upon in the future as in the past to make experiments, to act   [p. 100]   in advance of general public opinion and to supplement public action in fields that lie somewhat outside. But if such voluntary work leads to confusion of thought as to where responsibility ultimately rests, if it is relied upon after the period of experimentation is past, if it is looked upon as a substitute for public action instead of a supplement, it may often do more harm than good. For sooner or later, Madison must realize, as other cities have realized, that large and permanent results are possible only through the regular machinery of the city government, and democratic ideals of city life should make citizens unwilling to accept the benefits of public improvements without contributing their share toward the expenses that are necessarily involved.

Photo of Picnic in Tenney Park, Madison

Picnic in Tenney Park, Madison.

  [p. 101]  

A city park system cannot be made by private efforts, no matter how persistent, well-directed or generous they may be. The power and purse of the public are needed. The history of Madison's parks proves this. For, fine as the result is, it is altogether inadequate and the work now moves haltingly. The city of Madison, acting through its council, at first gave no support whatever to parks and now gives a small support unsystematically, uncertainly and grudgingly. Parks in Madison are not now prospering as they should and a radical change of policy is called for. The two greatest needs are the creation of an official Park Commission and the frank recognition that the acquisition of park lands cannot be met from current income but must be provided for by bond issues.

No better illustration could be given of the making of a park system by a small city, working through an official

Photo of Tenney Park Lagoon, Madison

Lagoon in Tenney Park, Madison.

  [p. 102]  

Photo of Tenney Park Cascade, Madison

Tenney Park, Madison.

  [p. 103]   board, than the recent experience of La Crosse, a city the size of Madison. Two years ago, there were no public parks there, and no park commission, and it is less than a year since the actual work of park construction was begun. Yet today La Crosse has the substantial framework of a comprehensive park system that is equalled by few cities of the same class. This result, it is true, is due to the happy concurrence of a number of influences. But one of the principal is the fact that the

Photo of Yahara Parkway, Madison

YAHARA PARKWAY, MADISON.

The most important connecting link in the Madison park system.

main reliance from the beginning was upon public action and public support. The people were taken in on the ground floor, so to speak, and made to feel that the work was not only to be for them, but was to be done by them. The parks and playgrounds were put in exactly the same class as the public school and the public library, and in renewing the appropriation this year, the members of the city council showed that they looked upon them in this way. In the case of La Crosse, and it should be the case elsewhere, generous public action has been supported and supplemented by generous private gifts.

  [p. 104]  
Photo of Yahara River Parkway

YAHARA RIVER PARKWAY.

The work of the Madison Park and Pleasure Drive Association, the railroads co-operating.

  [p. 105]  
Photo of Farwell Drive, Madison

FARWELL DRIVE, MADISON.

The pleasure drives as well as the parks are the work of the Park and Pleasure Drive Association.

  [p. 106]  
Photo of Entrance to Henry Vilas Park, Madison

SCENE IN HENRY VILAS PARK, MADISON.

  [p. 107]  

Next to the need of an official park commission in Madison is the need for understanding the right relation of bond issues to the acquisition and development of a park system. President Taft said recently,

"I think that men sometimes overdo the business of meeting what ought to be distributed expenses out of current income. I think there is good reason for issuing bonds for those improvements

Photo of Henry Vilas Park on Sunday Afternoon

Henry Vilas Park, Madison, on a Sunday afternoon. The Madison parks are for the people.

that are to be permanent, and not to spend current income for them. Sometimes it takes as much courage and involves as much real public interest to issue bonds for a purpose for which bonds ought to be used as it does to pay as we go."

This sound statement of the President has direct application to Madison. Such a system of parks as Madison should have would probably cost for land and permanent improvements in the neighborhood of $300,000 and a bonded indebtedness for such a sum would, I believe, be justified fully. This would mean, on   [p. 108]  

Photo of Edgewood Drive, Madison

EDGEWOOD DRIVE, MADISON.

  [p. 109]   the basis of the present population, only ten dollars of park bonds per capita, which is below the average for cities the country over. Ten dollars per capita with interest payable in twenty years would not be a heavy burden. It would be more than likely to prove a good investment, warranted by financial as well as other returns, and the dividends to the second generation would be larger

Photo of Lagoons in Henry Vilas Park

The poetic lagoons in Vilas Park, Madison.

than to the first, and to the third, larger than to the second. Park lands for Madison will never cost less than today; once bought, they will steadily increase in value, and the experience of all cities, Madison included, proves that parks more than pay for themselves. [1*] I know of no instance where a city regrets well-considered purchases of park land.

Madison like other cities should aim not at a series of detached or isolated parks, each separate from the other, but at a park system. Just as the city has a school system, a connected street system, a sewer system and a water system, so it should have a park system. Such a system should provide for each section of the city, for each class of the population, for each proper but varying   [p. 110]   taste. East Madison, for example, needs parks as much as South Madison or any other section. Children and young people and the working classes should be much more fully provided for. Then convenient and agreeable parkway connections must be made, not merely ordinary

Photo of Lake Mendota Drive, Madison. Before planting

Lake Mendota Drive, Madison. Before planting.

streets taken and marked boulevards. That action of itself renders them not a whit more attractive. If they are to serve the new and larger demands upon them, these streets must be freed from nuisances, properly planted with good trees, and in some cases widened. Before it is too late, Madison's measure for parks should be taken. Comparison should be made with the parks of such progressive cities as Hartford, Connecticut, Kansas   [p. 111]   City, Missouri, Brookline, Massachusetts, Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, and Oklahoma City. We should ask what are the present park requirements of Madison ? What will the future requirements be ? These questions need to be seriously asked and answers to

Photo of Lake Mendota Drive, Madison. After planting

Lake Mendota Drive, Madison. After planting. Same view.

them attempted. At the present rate of increase, according to Mr. Stewart, an expert engineer recently employed by the Water Department, Madison in 1925 will have a population of 50,000 and in 1940, but thirty years from now, 100,000. (See diagram on page 118.) If these figures should prove true - and they are likely to be exceeded - how many acres of parks would this larger Madison require and justify? Certainly, the   [p. 112]  

Photo of Owen Park Drive, Madison

OWEN PARK DRIVE, MADISON.

  [p. 113]   present acreage must be increased many fold. Where is unplatted, unimproved and inexpensive property to be had even now? Will it be easier or cheaper to get it in 1925 when Madison has 50,000 population or in 1940 when it has 100,000 or more?

The present parks of Madison should be looked upon merely as a nucleus. They are lovely little neighborhood parks, but fail altogether as a park system. What, then, are Madison's park needs? Madison needs especially some small centrally located open spaces or squares, [2*] a series of playgrounds, at least one large park and a system of connecting parkways or parked avenues. Toward this end, I propose for consideration the acquisition of land in the neighborhood of the railroad stations in both East and West Madison; the triangle at State and Gorham Streets already referred to; lake frontages at the foot of North Hamilton and South Hamilton Streets; a generous park about the size of Tenney Park at the Lake Monona end of the Yahara River; the balance of the block on   [p. 114]  

Photo of Lake Mendota Drive, Madison

LAKE MENDOTA DRIVE, MADISON.

  [p. 115]   which Kendall Field is located with perhaps another full block of marsh land adjoining it; all the low land situated between Mills Street and Park Street, the Chicago, Milwaukee and St. Paul tracks and Washington Streets; and a really large park, say 500 to 1,000 acres around Lake Wingra connected with Henry Vilas Park and completely

Photo of Farwell Drive, Madison

FARWELL DRIVE, MADISON.

encircling the lake. All of these locations, together with the proposed boulevards and parkways, are shown on the Suggestive Plan for Madison, a Model City.

Open squares or plazas near the railroad approaches to the city would contribute much to both convenience and beauty. The proposed triangle fronting on State Street between Gorham and Broom would be an ornamental space of inestimable value, adorning the city's   [p. 116]  

Photo of Spring in Proposed Park Land, Madison

Spring in proposed park land, Lake Wingra, Madison.

  [p. 117]  

Photo of Scene in Proposed Park, Madison

Typical woodland scene in proposed great park surrounding Lake Wingra, Madison.

  [p. 118]   main thoroughfare, and afford an open center for fountains or monuments and attractive sites round about for a number of important public and semi-public buildings. It might be to Madison what Copley Square is to Boston - in fact, more, for it has a much more significant location. North and South Hamilton Streets,

Chart of Madison Population Curve

POPULATION CURVES OF THE CITY OF MADISON.

If the population of Madison continues to increase as heretofore, the city will have in 1920 nearly 50,000 and in 1940 over 100,000. This is one of the most important factors in forecasting the requirements of the future.

as short diagonals leading directly from the center of the city to the lakes, the former to Lake Mendota, the latter to Lake Monona, offer still at their lake ends unusual opportunities for public water frontages which should not under any consideration be lost. In neither case is there yet any development or building to make their acquisition difficult or expensive. The same   [p. 119]   may be said of the Wisconsin Avenue street-end on Lake Mendota which on account of its unusual width and height above the lake invites the construction of a stone or concrete terrace as an outlook point. The mouth of the Yahara River is, fortunately, still an open opportunity for a park in East Madison comparable to Tenney Park. Kendall Field is too small for a playground except

Photo of Bath House, Brittingham Park, Madison

Brittingham Park Bath House, Madison. A model for a small city.

for little children and a large field in this neighborhood is imperatively needed. It could now be extended to include the entire block from Ingersoll to Brearly, or better yet, to Patterson, and from East Washington to Mifflin. The low land between Mills Street and Park Street is by far the best opportunity to secure a large and satisfactory playfield in the western end of the city. This is an ideal location and the conditions are such that unless the city takes the land it is likely to be developed in a cheap and undesirable fashion. A good-sized lot could also be had on the south side of University Avenue near Gilman. The best location for a large city park is open for discussion, but there is certainly much to be said in favor of Lake   [p. 120]  

Photo of Bathing, Brittingham Park, Madison

Public Bath House, Brittingham Park, Madison.

Photo of Photo of Brittingham Park Playground, Madison

Playground in Brittingham Park near the bath house.

  [p. 121]   Wingra and its environs. The lake itself is a beautiful little body of water, a veritable gem, and while some of the land around it would require filling later on, there is much high and sightly and well-wooded property. The ineffable charm of Henry Vilas Park, the most beautiful of Madison's pleasure grounds, gives a foretaste of what

Photo of Children's Dance

Organized and directed play activity, an indispensable means of physical education, which Madison should develop to a fuller extent.

might readily be done with a much larger tract in the same neighborhood. There would be no need for large expenditures for immediate development, but as the city's wealth and population warranted it, improvements could be made.

These additions, or something like these, to what Madison already has, would enable the city to meet the present demand and provide reasonably for the future. Are arguments needed for a better provision for outdoor life and outdoor sports in Madison? No one questions that   [p. 122]   they make an indispensable contribution to the legitimate pleasure of life, to health, to the checking of disorder and crime, to the preparation for adult life and to the formation of character.

"They have the direct effect of giving a large amount of intense and innocent pleasure, and they have indirect effects which are still more important. In so far as they raise the level of physical strength and

Photo of Chicago Playground

PART OF SOUTH PARK PLAYGROUND SYSTEM, CHICAGO.

Finding an outlet for the activity of boys and directing it into right channels.

health, and dispel the morbidness of temperament which is so apt to accompany a sedentary life and a diseased or inert frame, they contribute powerfully to lasting happiness. They play a considerable part in the formation of friendships, which is one of the best fruits of the period between boyhood and mature manhood. Some of them give lessons of courage, perseverance, energy, self-restraint, and cheerful acquiescence in disappointment   [p. 123]  

Drawing of Russell Square Playground, Chicago

RUSSELL SQUARE.

One of a series of admirable playgrounds or recreation centers in Chicago.

  [p. 124]   and defeat that are of no small value in the formation of character."

[3*]

But of even more far-reaching influence than parks and playgrounds are the city plan and the method of city extension. In Europe city making means a sensible city plan, a convenient arrangement of streets; orderly railroad

Photo of Street Trees, Main Street, Madison

Street trees, Madison, under private control. Compare with opposite illustration. No further comment necessary.

surroundings; a skilful public utilization of waterfronts for both business and pleasure; beautiful open spaces in the most congested business and residence sections; the proper housing of all the people; the suffusion everywhere of beauty with use. Thus beauty and opportunity for health and recreation are wrought into the very structure of the city, the very life of the people; they are not on the surface, merely decorative and occasional - they are organic. European city builders, supported by   [p. 125]   city authorities, consider that this sort of beauty is essential to the completeness of their work. Until it is secured, public works may be useful, but they cannot be satisfying or enduring.

"The demands of beauty are in large measure identical with those of efficiency and economy and differ merely in requiring a closer approach to practical

Photo of Street Trees, Washington, D. C.

Street trees, Washington, D. C., publicly planted and maintained.

perfection in the adaptation of means to ends than is required to meet the merely economic standard. So far as the demands of beauty can be distinguished from those of economy the kind of economy most to be sought in the planning of cities is that which results from seizing instinctively, with a keen and sensitive appreciation, the limitless opportunities which present themselves in the course of the most rigorously practical solution of any problem, for a choice between decisions of substantially equal economic merit, but of widely differing aesthetic   [p. 126]   quality."[4*]

In the United States, in contrast to the practice of Europe, towns and cities have not yet sought diligently this type of beauty. At best they have been content to relieve the fearful ugliness and awful sordidness of their daily city surroundings by the establishment here and there of parks, usually in the distant outskirts of the city requiring a special journey to see and enjoy.

Photo of Street Trees, University Avenue, Madison

Street trees, Madison.

The most important features of city planning are not the public buildings, not the railroad approaches, not even the parks and playgrounds. They are the location of streets, the establishment of block lines, the subdivisions of property into lots, the regulations of building, and the housing of the people. And yet, the fixing and extension of these features is too often left practically without effective regulation to the decision of private individuals. That these individuals are often lacking in   [p. 127]  

Photo of Street Trees, New England

A characteristic row of street elms in New England.

  [p. 128]   knowledge, in taste, in high or even fair civic motives; that they are often controlled by ignorance, caprice, and selfishness, the present character of American city suburbs bears abundant testimony. The law recently adopted in Wisconsin which gives city councils control

Photo of Street View in England

RESIDENTIAL STREET VIEW IN ENGLAND.

A contrast to the monotonous street development of Madison and other Western cities.

of the platting of all property within one and one-half miles of the corporate limits is a move in the right direction and is especially needed in view of the overcontracted limits of most Wisconsin cities. [5*]

City officials in Madison and elsewhere in Wisconsin, especially in Milwaukee, are now beginning to give attention to these important features of city planning.   [p. 129]  

Photo of Langdon Street, Madison

AN INTERESTING STREET VISTA.

Langdon Street, Madison, suggestive for the placing of other public buildings.

  [p. 130]  

Photo of A Langdon Street Back Yard, Madison

Madison back yards on Langdon Street, the best residence street of the city.

Photo of Back Yards Near University Club, Madison

Madison back yards near the University Club.

  [p. 131]   Streets are at least occasionally located with regard to the lay of the land, and their place, width and character fixed according to the demands likely to be made upon them. The sizes of blocks are regulated according to the uses to which the property within those blocks is to be put, and the housing of the people, more particularly

Photo of Back Yard Gardens, Bourneville, England

Back yard gardens in Bourneville, England, the homes of workingmen.

those of small means, is at least recognized as a matter of great public moment, one that affects intimately the health, the civic pride and the moral life of the entire community. The housing in Madison is far from satisfactory, even in some well-to-do neighborhoods. The lots are narrow and often too deep for an economical use of land, and the houses so close together that someone has remarked that there is only room enough for a dog   [p. 132]  

Plan of Round Top Hill Subdivision, Madison

Round Top Hill and Lakewood (on opposite page) are two illustrations of a better method of land subdivision, recently adopted in Madison.

  [p. 133]  

Plan of Lakewood Subdivision, Madison

LAKEWOOD
MADISON, WISCONSIN

  [p. 134]  

Plan of Street Arrangements, Washington, D. C.

Detailed illustration of street planning in Washington, D. C., which accounts for much of what is most attractive in the National Capital. Consider what the establishment of an open circle at the intersection of State, West Johnson and North Henry Streets would have meant for Madison.

  [p. 135]  

Plans of Street Arrangements, Madison, Wisconsin

Street arrangements and land subdivisions in Madison. The most important features of city planning are the location of streets, the establishment of block lines, the subdivision of property into lots and the proper regulation of building. The above illustrations show how these features are being neglected in Madison.

  [p. 136]   to chase a cat. The attention that is now being given to these matters is encouraging but it must be increased and public regulation and control greatly widened and strengthened. Even the so-called "zone system" of the German cities, adapted, of course, to American conditions,

Plan of Bellevue Park, Harrisburg, Pa.

BELLEVUE PARK, HARRISBURG, PA.

A new type of neighborhood planning. All the lots are sold subject to such restrictions as will assure permanently pleasant views. A building line is established varying with location. Not more than one house may be erected on any one lot. Black smoke, bill-boards, public stables, the sale of intoxicants, are prohibited. No overhead wires or poles will be permitted on the property. Trees of permanent character are planted.

is not too much to expect. This system of differentiated building regulations establishes the boundaries of industrial, residential and other sections, and is usually of even greater value to the individual property than to   [p. 137]   the community as a whole, imparting stability to real estate values, homogeneity to neighborhoods and protection from nuisances. [5] But such regulations must sooner or later prevail in American cities even if they interfere with property rights.

"Ordinarily and in the great majority of cases,"

said Mr. Roosevelt in his recent Sorbonne lecture,

"human rights and property rights are fundamentally and in the long run identical, but when it clearly appears that there is a real conflict between them, human rights must have the upper hand for property belongs to man and not man to property."

The solution of the problems presented in this chapter, the normal problems of a modern American city, will require patience, good citizenship, liberal expenditure and the use of all the skill and experience in city making and city administration that can be secured from near and far. But no one who knows Madison and the Wisconsin way of using skill, experience and foresight can fail to believe that there is a latent power in the population that if successfully drawn upon would surmount all difficulties and make Madison a model city, the hope of democracy.

  [p. 138]  
Plan of Park System, Oklahoma City

PARK SYSTEM OF OKLAHOMA CITY.

It comprises 70 miles of parkways and boulevards, much of them 200 feet wide, and 1966 acres of park lands. The system has been officially approved and is being rapidly carried out.


Notes

[1*] See "Madison Parks as a Municipal Investment" published by Citizens' Committee
in 1909
.

[2*]

"We began to realize we were cutting up lands upon which people would dwell for ages to come. We were changing wholesale acres into a form from which they could be changed again only at great cost. At this point it would be the simplest thing in the world to set aside, if we were so charitably-minded, some of this land, and leave it as a perpetual open space for generations to play upon. At that time no other aspect of the case suggested itself to us. It did not seem possible that such an immediate sacrifice to our future expectations would work any important benefit to our treasury balance; in other words, that it was not a business proposition, although it did look like the most justifiable sentimentalism. In this we were mistaken. There were infinite business possibilities in such an act of generosity, and, could we have seen ahead, as we can now look back, we would immediately have begun the segregation of lands for park purposes in all our subdivisions, and would not only have served the community better, but would have received a return in dollars and cents sufficient to amply repay for every foot of ground so utilized."

- William E. Harmon, of Wood, Harmon & Co., New York City, Real Estate Agents and Operators.

[3*] W. E. H. Lecky.

[4*] Frederick Law Olmsted.

Previous Previous section

Next section Next




Go up to Top of Page