« AnteriorContinuar »
THE OLD VICTORY," LORD NELSON'S BATTLESHIP-A STRIKING CONTRAST WITH THE "MAINE."
(As she appeared in the Coronation Naval Review on June 26. The yards are manned in the old-fashioned salute, to welcome the arrival of Edward VII.)
under the fairest conditions, and with a care that gives it an official accuracy, the course having been marked out by the experts of the Coast Survey.
The best previous performance of the Arrow was a sprint at the rate of 36 statute miles an hour. In this country the yacht Vamoose had made a speed of 24 miles an hour, the torpedo boat Porter a speed of 33 miles, and in England, the turbine boat Viper had reached 42 miles in a private trial; while the swiftest German torpedo boat had come within a fraction of this speed.
and 32 seconds, or at the rate of 44.13 statute miles an hour.
Mr. Flint's wonderful boat is a twin-screw yacht 130 feet long, with a beam of only 124 feet; the displacement is 78 tons, and the two engines can develop 4,000 horse power. What such a power means in this slip of a boat can be imagined when one remembers that the screw engines of the Great Eastern of over 20,000 tons displacement, and therefore more than 250 times the displacement of the Arrow, developed only 4,000 horse power.
One of the most gratifying features of this remarkable exhibition, so far as it had any practi cal significance as to torpedo-boat possibilities, was the excellent behavior of the little vessel under the fearful strain. She ran straight and true, with comparatively little vibration, and no ominous wake. With such an enormous power driving so light a vessel this is perhaps the most remarkable feature of the trial.
MR. CHARLES H. FLINT'S BOAT "ARROW," THE FASTEST BOAT AFLOAT.
(On September 6, the Arrow steamed over a measured course of a nautical mile in 92 seconds, or at the rate of 44.13 statute
miles an hour.)
OUR PUBLIC PLEASURE GROUNDS.
BY M. O. STONE.
(Secretary Park Commission, Rochester, N. Y.)
FIFTY years ago there were no great public
country, and most of the large park systems have been developed within the last twenty-five years. Of the 159 cities of the United States, each having a population of 25,000 or more, there are 37 that have no public parks. The population of these cities ranges from 25,000 to 42,000. Forty three cities with from 30,000 to 102,000 inhabitants have parks, the smallest park area being threefourths of an acre, the largest 48 acres, and the average park area for each of these 43 cities is 10 acres.
The number of cities having parks and park systems varying in size from 50 acres up to Greater New York's grand system of parks, comprising about 7,000 acres, is 79. Up to about 1866, when Central Park began to show some degree of finish and beauty under the wise direc tion of park commissioners of high character and intelligence and the almost magic touch of those great landscape gardeners, Frederick Law Olm sted and Calvert Vaux, public pleasure grounds were generally considered undesirable, if not unattainable, luxuries. But at this time the question of park making was not being seriously considered in many cities. Soon after Central Park was opened to the public it became immensely popular, and was visited by thousands from all parts of the country. From this time munici palities seemed to gradually realize that liberal expenditures for the purchase and improvement of public pleasure grounds were not only legitimate, but were demanded in the interests of public welfare. In some cities a few strong men worked persistently for parks, contending in many cases against local newspapers, prominent business men, and a united saloon influence.
PARKS ENHANCE REAL ESTATE VALUES.
But in the end the park promoters were successful. Probably not one of the cities that did not take kindly to the creation of public parks when the agitation was at its height, but finally accepted the idea, would, if it were possible, part with its parks for twice their total cost. It has been found in some cities that the parks have earned money for the taxpayers, and from a financial point of view are good investments. Attractive parks now occupy large areas that for
years were obstructions to the extension and material prosperity of many cities; and, as these unsightly and waste places were gradually improved and beautified, the value of land in those neighborhoods soon began to rise. Twenty-two officials, representing parks in thirty-three cities, state that real estate near their park territory has increased in valuation greatly beyond the average increase in other parts of their cities. Ten years ago the Board of Park Commissioners of Boston reported that the increase in the value of lands near the Back Bay" system had been over 300 per cent.; during the same time the value of lands in the rest of the city had increased in value but 18 per cent. Land values have also risen enormously near Central and other New York parks; and everywhere, though perhaps not to such an extent as in Boston and New York, appreciation in the value of real estate near parks has steadily increased, and must continue to do so as parks are developed and grow more beautiful. Many park systems are but partially improved, and some years may be necessary to show their value in this direction.
The improvement and beautifying of any section of a city by the erection of handsome buildings, especially when surrounded by beautiful grounds, immediately causes surrounding prop erty to become more valuable, and attractive public parks in a still greater degree have the same effect. The phenomenal growth of our cities during the last ten years should arouse municipalities to the necessity of securing land for park purposes before the most desirable tracts are taken for residential and manufacturing pur poses. There is little reason to fear that rapidly growing cities will obtain more park lands than will be required, and the danger of delay in buying is illustrated in many cities which find, when they are forced to consider the question of providing public parks, that the cost of procuring suitable land has increased enormously; in some cases the most desirable tracts, that could have been bought at reasonable figures a few years ago, cannot now be secured at prices that will permit of their acquisition for park purposes. There are in many cities large open spaces near poor and overcrowded sections which should be taken at once for park purposes and for great playgrounds.
PRIVATE GIFTS FOR PUBLIC PLEASURE GROUNDS.
Perhaps there is no way in which men of wealth could so directly benefit so large a number of people as by gifts of land for public pleasure grounds. Magnificent sums are given to colleges, libraries, and other public institutions. Why should not money be as freely given to create great parks for the betterment of all sorts and conditions of men"? The accumulation of great fortunes has been made possible only through the toil of those who most need the pure air and rest afforded by large rural parks. The largest gift of land in this country for park purposes was that of 3,717 acres to the city of Los Angeles, Cal. Hartford has received by gift 830 acres; Minneapolis, 790 acres ; St. Louis, 435 acres; Cleveland, 395 acres; Spring field, Mass., 360 acres; Allegheny, 313 acres ; Toronto, Ont., 225 acres; Detroit, 194 acres ; Worcester, 150 acres; Peoria, 140 acres ; Omaha, 130 acres, and Providence, 121 acres. A few other cities have received donations of land for parks varying in amounts from 2 to 90 acres.
MUNICIPAL PARK FINANCE SYSTEMS.
It would be impossible to overestimate the value of public parks to the physical and moral health of the people. The great urban pleasure grounds are coming to be considered as essential to a city's welfare as are pure water, well-lighted streets, public baths, and public schools, and the park officials of three-fourths of the cities which have public parks say that the greater part of their taxpapers favor liberal appropriations for the purchase of park lands, their improvement and proper maintenance. The legislative branches of nearly all city governments grant appropriations for the maintenance of their parks, the park departments annually stating to them the amounts deemed necessary. In some cases maximum amounts have been fixed by State legislatures beyond which appropriations cannot be made for parks in those cities. The parks of Hartford and San Francisco are annually provided with funds raised by a tax of not less than one-half of a mill on each dollar of value of all property taxable for municipal purposes. Paterson, N. J., maintains. her parks with an annual appropriation obtained from a tax of two-fifths of a mill levied on assessed valuation of taxable property. Minneapolis receives her annual appropriation for parks through a Board of Tax Levy," with a limit of one mill on the assessed valuation of property to be taxed.
The parks of Peoria, Ill., are maintained from an annual tax levy of six mills, which provides her parks with the most liberal appropriation
A very large proportion of the money expended for the improvement and maintenance of parks is used for labor, and this labor cannot be honestly and carefully performed when partially under the direction of outside influences. If the same degree of efficiency and application of business principles had always been found in the various departments of our city governments as has prevailed in most of the park boards of this country, many municipalities would not now be carrying burdens of indebtedness so great as to suggest the possibility of bankruptcy. Of the thirty largest park systems in the United States, twenty-five are under strictly non-partisan commissions; in the other five cities the administration of park work is less under the control of political organizations than any other departments of the city government, and but two of these have park commissions.
ECONOMICAL MANAGEMENT BY COMMISSIONS.
The management of park affairs under commissions largely accounts for the economical and satisfactory development of our largest park systems, and the feeling is general that full value has been received for all park expenditures. In