Wednesday, December 5, 2018

Was It Ever Thus?

Yesterday, Gossips reported there were thoughts of re-creating the street grid in the area around the Kaz site as it appears on old maps and drawings and questioned whether Montgomery Street had run from Third Street to Front Street and if Second Street had ever extended from Allen Street to the edge of South Bay, as is shown on the 1873 Beers Atlas map.

The post inspired a reader, who is a consummate researcher, to share a discovery she had made. On April 13, 1854, the Road, Street and Bridge Committee of the Common Council submitted a report regarding a petition to open and grade Montgomery Street. The record of that report, as it appears in the minutes of the Common Council, is reproduced below. A transcription of the excerpt from the Council minutes follows.     

Ald. Crapser, from the Road, Street and Bridge Committee, submitted the following report:
The Committee to whom was referred the petition of Jas. T. Perkins and others, for opening and grading Montgomery Street respectfully report that they have given very particular attention to the matter and from actual survey present the following facts: From Third to Second Street the grade is 50 feet. Height of the embankment at Third Street 10 feet, at the west side of the Catholic Church 12 feet. Deepest Culling 15 feet. At the intersection of Tanner's Lane the grade on Montgomery Street is 16 feet above that of Tanner's Lane, requiring 7,500 yards of earth to grade said Lane. The surplus earth from Montgomery St will only furnish 624 yards, as the cutting of Montgomery St is 8,418 yards and the filling 7,794 yards. Two or more houses and lots will be made almost worthless, as the embankment will be nearly up to their roofs and a number of other lots will be inaccessible.
The owners of a large majority of the lots have notified the Committee that in the event of Montgomery Street being opened and graded that they will not pay the assessment but will give up their lots and in that case they would become a heavy tax upon the city.
The committee are desirous to extend every facility possible to aid private enterprise and for public improvements where they can be effected without being too detrimental to other interests, and without making too great a draft upon the finances of the City. The whole number of Petitioners represent eight lots, and the whole number of remonstrants represent 20 lots. In view of the facts stated and others that might be adduced, the committee recommend that the petition be not granted.
In 1854, the Common Council decided not to pursue opening and grading Montgomery Street. It remains to be discovered if, in the nineteen years between 1854 and when the 1873 Beers Atlas map was drawn, the Montgomery Street actually was extended from Third Street to Second Street.

Addendum: The Catholic church referenced in the Council minutes was this church, built in 1848, which stood at the corner of Third and Montgomery streets.

The church moved to its current building at East Allen and East Court streets in 1930. The church building on Third Street was destroyed in fire in March 1950.

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