Evolving Avenues

Since the first streets were created in #Charleston back in 1672, thoroughfares have been changing in a variety of different ways. Surfaces were originally soil, sand and broken sea shell, and the first major change was the arrival of non-native stones, either lumpy cobblestones or cut perpendicular Belgian Block. This section of Broad Street was once paved in wooden blocks to reduce the noise of passing carts and wagons. The late 1800’s brought the introduction of the first tar, or Macadam surfaces, and in the early 20th century, many streets were paved in vitrified brick from the Catskill Mountains in New York. Since the 1920’s the majority of surfaces have been paved in asphalt, but there are still brick, Belgian Block and cobblestone streets. The early conveyances were carts and wagons pulled by mule and horse, which were pulling much larger vehicles when the first trolley tracks were laid in 1866. The trolleys were made electric in the 1890’s, and within a decade after that, the first automobiles appeared, and at one time, the traffic flow included horse-drawn drays, electric trolleys and gas-powered jitneys. There were no traffic signals or stop signs until the 20th century, and the first creation of right and left lanes began before the Civil War. Parking spaces were added by the 1930’s and the first parking meters came shortly thereafter. Speed limits were also a 20th century addition, as were the first speeding and parking tickets. One thing that is very noticeable about the old streets in images like this that differs greatly from today is the volume of traffic, now much heavier, and you’re not going to have the chance to tie the horse and carriage to the nearest tree. <img.src=”Charleston Streets” alt=”Changing Lanes

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