BY POPULAR ACCLAIM - San Francisco Examiner - May 23, 1895
BY POPULAR ACCLAIM
Wheelmen and Mission Residents Demand a Boulevard for Folsom Street.
Brilliant Parade of Bicyclists Followed by a Large and Enthusiastic Mass Meeting.
Japanese Lanterns and Plenty of Bunting Make the Route of the Procession Gay With Colors.
SPEECHES BY REPRESENTATIVE MEN.
Members of the South Side Improvement Club, the Mechanics' Institute, Builders' Exchange and Supervisors Pledge Their Aid.
It will not take many meetings like that held in the Mission last night to bring about the improvement of the streets.
There were 10,000 people around the platform at the corner of Twenty-second and Folsom streets to listen to the speeches and witness the parade of the wheelmen.
That parade was a beautiful feature.
Probably 2,000 men and women rode decorated wheels through the Mission streets, marching and counter-marching by the light of innumerable Chinese lanterns, red fire and skyrockets. Not only were the clubs out in force, but hundreds of unattached wheelmen wove flowers in the spokes of their machines, hung paper lanterns to their handle bars and wheeled out to the Mission to join the parade.
The procession formed at the corner of Twenty-first and Capp streets and for an hour that vicinity was a wilderness of wheels. For a block in every direction the cyclers filled the streets so closely that there was no passage anywhere. The wheels were gay with lights, flowers and ribbons, and as the cyclers worked their way about hunting up their places in the line the scene was extremely picturesque.
WHEELMEN FROM EVERYWHERE.
Wheelmen poured in from all sides, shouting inquiries as they came for their clubs.
It was an unusually dark evening, which, of course, materially helped out the effect of the lights and fireworks.
At 8 o'clock the crowd of cyclers had become so large that there was difficulty in keeping track of the clubs' positions.
Then the club cries came into use to guide the late arrivals to the rendezvous.
"Who are we?
"I. C. C."
This yell gathered the scattered Imperials at the head of the procession. Down the line the other cries came in until there was an extraordinary chorus. Above the others came the concerted cry from 150 men:
The Olympics had the strongest representation in the procession. Their banner wheel was a tandem ridden by Wicks and Christ, and decorated elaborately. A monster Japanese sunshade nodded above the wheel. From all around its circumference depended lanterns. These swayed and swung in the wind, and the smallness of the bicycle compared with the lofty, spreading top structure made the Olympic tandem quite a feature in the lively gathering.
NOISE AND ENTHUSIASM.
Some of the wheels were strung with sleighbells, and many of the riders blew their whistles constantly, which added to the excitement. Out of the turmoil and confusion filed the procession, when the order was given, without a hitch or a mistake. The lights and noise and hubbub generally ceased as if by magic, and the long line started. They rode three abreast, except when a particularly elaborate wheel came along all alone, so that the people might have an opportunity to see it.
There were a good many girls and women in the procession. It was suggested that a bloomer division would be added to the list, but the women did not want to be separated from their escorts, so they just distributed themselves through the procession wherever their men folks belonged.
The line of march was along Twenty-second street to Shotwell, to Twenty-first, to Folsom, to Twenty-sixth, countermarching on Folsom street to Nineteenth, and another countermarch back to the mass meeting.
As the procession passed it was cheered, and by way of acknowledgment of the cheers the clubs yelled some more, and everybody with a whistle or a bell made as much noise as possible.
HOW THE PARADE WHEELED.
This parade was the largest and finest wheelmen's procession San Francisco has ever seen. It was the first one in which lady riders ever participated in any number. The decorations of some of the machines were elaborate, noticeably the one ridden by C. Westphal of the Liberty Cycling Club, and the tandem ridden by Wicks and Christ of the Olympic Club. The Imperial Cycling Club, with sixty men in line under Captain W. Johnson, headed the procession. Immediately following them were the Olympic Club Wheelmen, Captain A. C. Thornton, presenting a striking appearance in their white sweaters with their emblem - the winged O - on their breasts.
Captain Sims was in charge of the Y. M. C. A. Cycling Club. The Pathfinders, Captain Flanagan; the Libertys, Captain Meyers; the Crescent Road Club, Captain Berwald; the Camera Club Cyclists, Captain J. J. B. Argenti; the Eintracht Cycling Annex, Captain Freund; the Comus Cycling Annex, Captain F. J. English; the Sunset Cycling Club, Captain M. Winter; the Royal Cycling Club, Captain Rosenberg; the Golden Gate Cyclers, San Francisco Club, Pacifics, Outing, Knockabouts and Nationals all were well represented in numbers.
The parade discovered a number of new clubs, which have not heretofore appeared in cycling circles, but which should be heard from hereafter.
The last division of the procession was composed of wheelmen not connected with any club, and it was the largest division of them all.
The first object of the parade and meeting - the transformation of basalt-paved Folsom street, with its ruts and holes and roughness, into a bituminized boulevard is not for the benefit of any single section.
It would afford a way for cyclers and drivers to reach San Mateo county without jolting for miles over rocks as they have to do now. So all the wheelmen are interested, and that is why they came from all parts of the city to help the cause along.
The grand stand, located near the corner of Twenty-second and Folsom streets, was decorated with bunting of the favorite stars and stripes pattern. Above the rail strings of colored lanterns were hung, and on every side there was evidence of the desire to make this gathering-point of the multitude attractive to the eye. On a large band-wagon a band was installed, and from start to finish the players took turns with the speakers in expressing themselves in an enthusiastic manner. Every popular and patriotic air which could be suggested was played.
It was a business meeting, however, and though there was plenty of fun the main objects of the gathering were not lost sight of for a moment.
On the platform were George Raabe, J. B. Ryder, Harvey Somers, Joseph Kelly, John Flood, Henry F. Wymire, A. C. Welster, George L. Center, C. T. Spader, Thomas R. Bannerman, T. J. Welsh, A. B Maguire, C. C. Terrill, Supervisors Alphons Hirsch, Edward L. Wagner and J. C. Hobbs; Oscar Lewis, William Mitchell Bunker, G. F. Day, R. M. Welch, C. K. Melrose, Thomas R. Knox, Auditor William Broderick, F. Formhals, George Cumming, Howard C. Holmes, P. J. Donovan, George D. Shadbourne, Justice of the Peace Barry, George W. Elder and many others, members of the Mechanics' Institute, Builders' Exchange, League of American Wheelmen and of South Side Improvement Clubs Nos. 1, 2, 3 and 4.
CHAIRMAN RAABE'S REMARKS.
President Raabe was the chairman of the evening, and in calling the meeting to order said: "I welcome you, ladies and gentlemen, and thank you sincerely for the interest you have shown in the work we have undertaken. I thank the members of the Mechanics' Institute, Builders' Exchange, the wheelmen and the press for the sympathy they have displayed for us in our endeavors to make this undertaking of ours impressive and to demonstrate that the people of the South Side Improvement Club are in earnest in the task they have set themselves to accomplish. It may be that in order to attain the objects of our desires the tax levy will have to be increased a little, but you will all benefit by it in the end, and will when you have a boulevard from the water front to the county line exclaim, "The money has been well spent!'"
THE HALF-MILLION CLUB'S IDEAS.
W. M. Bunker, proprietor of the Daily Report, was the first speaker to be introduced, and he held himself strictly to the time limit set for each speech. He was introduced not alone as the representative of his paper, but also as the spokesman for the Half-Million Club.
He said: "We of the Half-Million Club are strictly in it with you on this and every similar proposition. One of our aims is to improve and beautify our city, and this is, I believe, what you are trying to do for Folsom street. Improvement is in its very nature gradual. It means making a beginning to improve and then going ahead until the entire city has been beautified. I am sure as I stand here to-night you will attain your objects; that the effect of this great mass meeting and our splendid parade of wheelmen will be to bring about a clear understanding of your needs and prompt action to satisfy them on the part of the city authorities. This is one of the finest demonstrations I have ever seen in San Francisco, and it cannot fail of its purpose."
A MISSIONARY NIGHT.
After the band had played "The Red, White and Blue," George D. Shadbourne was presented. He said: "This is a missionary night - a grand night for the Missionite - and I know that this work is to bear immense fruit in the future. You are sowing the seeds, you Mission folk, and you will reap the harvest in the near future in the shape of a splendid boulevard and in many other needed improvements. Many of us have taken the advice of Horace Greeley and have come West. Now, we are going to stay here and to show what we can do. Now public opinion makes law, and we want to get such an expression of public opinion to-night as shall convince the Supervisors that they must pass the law which will give us the boulevard for which we are agitating. My advice is to follow up this meeting by going to the Supervisors and telling them that we mean what we say, and that is, that we must have this boulevard."
C. C. Terrill of the Builders' Exchange was the next speaker, and he spoke in his customary pointed style. "We want better streets," said he. "Our streets to-day are a disgrace to our city. We should have had the boulevard years ago, but better late than never. Now, let us get at it and work together with a will. We can accomplish anything in reason if we want to, and what we want now is a boulevard from the water front to the county line."
SUPERVISOR HOBBS' APPROVAL.
Supervisor J. K. C. Hobbs of the Eleventh Ward was introduced and well received as a "friend of the people." He said:
"I am in favor of this cause first, last and all the time, and whatever I, as your Supervisor, can do to aid it I will certainly and gladly do. Rely on me for that."
Oscar Lewis, as one of the committee from the Mechanics' Institute, said he had lived in the Mission over a quarter of a century and know its needs. He thought that the people and the improvement clubs were doing the right thing. "I am glad," he said, "to see the ladies here, and if this is the kind of new woman we are to have, the woman who takes an interest in the building up and the beautifying of our city, I say let us receive the new woman with open arms."
This suggestion was received with enthusiastic applause.
Alphonse Hirsch, Supervisor of the Fourth Ward, made a neat speech expressive of his sympathy with the cause of the Mission and pledging his aid in whatever might benefit that section. In particular he promised to do all in his power to further the project of paving Folsom street with bituminous rock and making it one of the city's boulevards.
A. B. Maguire presented the resolutions of the evening. He stated very briefly what was proposed and asked for an expression of opinion from the vast crowd in front of him on the subject of the resolutions, which he then read as follows:
WHEREAS, The condition of the street pavements in the Mission and South Side district is, and for years has been a disgrace to a city of the size and importance of San Francisco; and
WHEREAS, The necessity of repaving Folsom street gives us the opportunity of beginning the work of replacing the worn out cobbles and blocks by a smooth modern pavement; and
WHEREAS, Seven blocks of Folsom street, from Nineteenth to Twenty-sixth streets, are already paved with bituminous rock; therefore, be it
Resolved, That we request the Board of Supervisors to pave Folsom street with bituminous rock instead of replacing the worn out stone blocks and cobbles at present obstructing the street.
The resolutions were adopted with ringing cheers, and a volley of skyrockets and a blaze of red fire emphasized the popular demonstration in their favor.
Supervisor Edward L. Wagner of the Twelfth Ward indorsed the resolutions in a brief speech, and added his personal pledge to those of his fellow members of the board to support the proposition when it comes up for official consideration. Auditor William Broderick made a short speech, in which he said: "I have been asked if I would favor including the paving of Folsom street in the estimates for the year's work. Now, gentlemen, I am not making any promises on subjects which must not be hastily considered. But one thing I can promise you, and that is, that I will not be the man who will ever throw a stone in the way of your accomplishing the objects of your earnest, well meant endeavors. I am a resident of the Mission and am in favor of what will benefit it and the city at large."
Justice of the Peace Joseph E. Barry came next.
"I own a small lot," said he, "on this street and for my own benefit and for that of my neighbors I want to see Folsom street made a fine boulevard. I indorse heartily the resolutions which have just been passed, and I will do what little I may to urge the carrying out of the work they suggest."
THE WHEELMEN'S REPRESENTATIVE.
Thomas R. Knox, representing the wheelmen and identified with the good roads movement, as he was Secretary of the Good Roads Convention, said that the turnout made by the cyclists was evidence of their sympathy with the movement, and for them he could pledge earnest assistance. He closed by saying: "To the wheelman this means much in a city where good roads are very few."
P. J. Welsh, the well-known architect, referred to the cities of Boston, Chicago and New York, and told what they are doing and have done, and urged this city to move forward at once and rank with these big cities in the matter of enterprise and public spirit.
WHAT IT WILL COST.
Following is the estimate of the cost of the proposed improvements on Folsom street that will be submitted to the Street Committee of the Supervisors this morning:
I herewith submit an estimate of the cost of paving Folsom street with bituminous rock from East street to Third street and from Third street to Nineteenth street.
On Folsom streat, from East to Third street, there are 99,333 square feet to be paved, exclusive of that portion required by law to be kept in order by the railroad company having tracks thereon. The maximum cost of said pavement will be 20 cents per square foot, or $19,866 60.
On Folsom street, from Third to Nineteenth street, there 310,000 square feet to be paved, exclusive of that portion required by law to be kept in order by the railroad company having tracks thereon.
The maximum cost of paving said portion of Folsom street would be $62,000. The total maximum cost of the pavement from East street to Nineteenth street would be $81,866. If the following plan, which I have thoroughly investigated and find entirely practical, is adopted, a better foundation for the pavement will be secured and the cost of the above work will be reduced by $10,000, or 2 cents per square foot.
My plan is to use a portable rock-crusher on the street and convert the present basalt block and cobble pavement into concrete rock. The concrete rock so produced will be superior to the rock now used for street work, and it will cost less to convert the present pavement into concrete rock than it will cost to haul the cobbles and basalt blocks to the corporation yard. By adopting this plan the entire cost of the work would be $71,866. Respectfully submitted,
The bicycle riders of San Francisco have organized to make a systematic and vigorous fight for better roads and streets in the metropolis. It is an open question if there is another village in the State that has such miserable thoroughfares as San Francisco, but it is doubtful if the wheelmen accomplish much this century. The Supervisors of the Bay City move slowly and require a great deal of lubricating. - San Luis Obispo Breeze.
The agitation for good streets continues in San Francisco. There is every reason to hope that the city will mend its ways. - Fresno Republican.