This Day in History: May 25th, 1919

This Day in History: May 25th, 1919

Milltown’s Fine Opportunity to Become More Attractive

In the second installment of hist Interesting article Mr. H. M. Olmsted continues his constructive suggestions for making Milltown an attractive place to live. In the first part The wrote about the many natural advantages already there for making a bigger development possible, in this The goes more into details for creating new features, besides developing the old ones, as follows:

A Cool Atmosphere.

If the reader has visited Salt Lake City, Utah, he will remember having- noted with pleasure the cool, frag- rant, bracing air of that city.

Also he will recall the rivulets of pure fast flowing water coursing down the regularly constructed concrete gutters at each curbing of the main streets. Long ago, that city decided to in- stall an improvement which is peculiar to Western towns, namely to take advantage of the natural pitch and tall of the city streets and the excess supply of water and to use these in the above manner to cool the atmosphere. You will find on every block of the main streets in that city one or two white enamel bubbling fountains alongside the curb where one’s thirst may be quenched with ice cold mountain water and you will note that this constantly flowing water wastes into the gutters, which are in reality concrete troughs two feet wide by two inches deep. In these gutters one can see the clean mountain water traversing block after block until it finds it way into storm water sewers, which lead out onto the farm lands lying far down in the valley and irrigating them to a point of rich vitality.

Throw a chip in the gutter at the upper end of a 600 foot long block and walk rapidly to the lower end of the block and you will see your, chin coming sailing by like an ocean freighter. Rubber tires, horses hoofs and wagon tires need cooling. This water does it perfectly. Then too. it cools the atmosphere, because of the evaporation caused by the sun. It is a natural thing there, for citizens to keep their streets clean. Dust may be swept into and away by the stream. Stubs of cigars and matches are never left on sidewalks in Salt Lake City because it is natural to desist them in the water where there will be swept out of sight in a moment. Well, this plan is possible in Milltown, along Main street and a number of other sloping roadways and it would lend healthfulness, cleanliness and coolness to the city in the hat weather of the summertime, Is this too progressive for you? I think it is not, and that it would soon pay big dividends in Milltown as well as elsewhere. It would be a paying advertisement for Milltown to be the first in this matter. Advertising is a tremendous factor in success today and always will be.

Importance of Signs and Lighting.

I have spoken previously of a lighting system which would prove a profitable investment in any city. As to street name signs I believe Milltown is far better off in that direction than is New Brunswick. The importance of handsome street name sign pests of metal-two to each corner-big letters easily read. cannot be underestimated in any progressive town. I once knew of a merchant who contemplated investing a large sum of money in building a branch factory in a certain city, who, when he got lost in that strange city, because there were no proper street name signs, promptly drove out of the place and infested his capital in a town where every single street was sign posted in a proper manner. In the matter of store signs hanging far out over streets-this is a thing which all progressive towns refuse to allow. It is a dangerous and unsightly method and should not be permitted by authorities.

A Bounteous Nursery of Trees and Shrubs.

In the woodlands south of the lake I saw thousands of trees, saplings, and bushes which might be culled. out here and there and with little expense transplanted along streets where trees are needed-and there are but few such places-also both saplings and bushes could be trans- planted advantageously in yard where needed. This would aid in the work of clearing out paths and roads in a parking plan a go a long ways in making for greater charm and beauty in the whole town. Perhaps an Arbor Day or Days might be arranged among the good citizens. and by united and co-operative work, each aid the other fellow to further adorn his own plot and garden, to the greater benefit and prosperity of the entire village. In those woods I saw any hundreds of varieties of plant life. With about twenty, in borers, a skilled gardener and competent direction, much transplanting. could be done profitably and at acost mere nominal to the actual value produced by the work.

On many of the U. S. Housing projects of 100, 200 and 300 houses, there was an allotment of nursery stock to each project of as many as 15,000 plants, trees, shrubs, vines, etc.-over 100 plants per house and the plots of ground rarely exceeded 25 by 100 feet per house. This illustrates the importance which the U. S. Government lent to plant life around its houses. Properly set out plants add charm, beauty and enhance property values far in excess of the cost of the plants themselves. As to paths around the park and along all brooks these might be constructed inexpensively by merely marking out the lines of the paths and filling in the pathways with a mixture of sand and gravel to be had in abundance from the gravel, pits in the hills of the woodlands. This same gravel would supply two of the ingredients needed for concrete bridges and other work. should estimate that with the proper utilization of Milltown’s nursery stock, water supply, sand, gravel and electric power plant in the ways I have named, she could add to her loral property values over 50 per cent. I mean that by utilizing these natural resources, each citizen could command 50 per cent higher price for his property holdings were he compelled to sell them. This is a strong statement but I believe, from experience, that it would prove correct, were the work done. Of course it would have to be a co-operative task and one upon which all citizens would have to first agree but this f could be done.

As one may realize, his thought as to a park system, is given without mature study and I have mentioned it only in a hopeful fashion as a big possibility. The plan would involve a greater amount of thought and study that such as it is I have given it freely in this article as only one of the possibilities of Milltown.

Beautifying Factories.

A great deal of thought and work. has of late years been expended on beautifying factories. Few realize how much our offices and places of work consume of our working and leisure time. Why should not these, places be harmonious and as attractive as one’s home? There is but one answer-they should be so.

The National Cash Register Co. of Dayton, Ohio; the Doubleday, Page Co., of Garden City, IL. and hundreds of other great factories have landscaped their buildings and grounds. to such a large extent that they are places of wonderful beauty and attractiveness and this simple expedient has become an asset of tremendous monetary value to such factories. The employees health and working spirit has been quickened. They are rested and refreshed at work and when leaving work and their output has been doubled and trebled merely by the wholesomeness, and beauty by which their shops are surrounded. Curved charts have been made on such work and these charts show that an investment in trees and bushes pay thousands of per cent yield on the capital invest- ed.

Thought of a Wayside Restaurant.

An ideal spot for the location of a family and motorists’ co-operative restaurant is seen from the bridge. I judge that the location would be on Washington avenue, near the railroad tracks. That hillside looks inviting for just such a purpose, and it would take care of the overflow of diners which will surely follow any expansion in Milltown’s present population.

The restaurants in Milltown are fine and hospitable but they will be taxed in the days to come. think you will smile over this idea. of a co-operative vile covered restaurant but look at it from another angle and perhaps we can agree on the matter. Have any of you folks ever stopped to consider that the girls get tired cooking and serving at home every day and that they want a change once in a while from home cooked meals? Then too, women now play a big part in the civic life of every city. Even now they do so in Milltown, Are not your wives, mothers, sweethearts and sisters entitled to this recreation? I am sure you will say they are, so that ends the argument socially. On the other hand, picture the delight of every motorist passing over that bridge and spying pretty way-side restaurant perched up on that hill and then his immediately going there for his chicken dinner. This will bring much money into the town. Every motorist who stops or is induced to stop by reason of a restaurant, leaves about $10 of his money in the town that catches him. A restaurant, by all means, I know you will now say.

A Progressive Community.

A visit to Milltown will prove that it is a progressive town. Its 5.000 citizens. are people with heart, brain and sentiment and this is proven by their homes and the town itself. I should not be surprised to learn that its slogan For the next two years will be Ten Thousand Population.” This will raise it to the classification of a sure enough city.

in point of American loyalty there is probably not a finer town in the entire state. To know this one has but to see the large wooden sign board adorning Main street. near the bridge, with its dozens of names of brave and loyal soldiers who gave up their all to advance the cause of humanity and democracy in the great war which has but ended. Again I would not be surprised to learn that the citizens of Milltown had erected a permanent concrete of granite tablet with copper name plates for each hero on that list, in place of the wooden sign board now in place, These men deserve the tribute and it is worthy of the town as well.

On many sides there was report of the splendid work of the Michelin Tire Company doing their share. in promoting the best interests of the city. I was told that Michelin never intruded into the politics of the town but steadfastly aided and did his part like a man when the opportunity presented. Many of the citizens spoke in favor of paying the Michelin people a tribute so the thought naturally occurred to me what finer tribute could be rendered anyone so helpful, than to

change the name of the town. so that it would bear the name of one of its best citizens. The name “Milltown,” is now slightly misleading, because in no sense is that town a mill town. It is not a place of or for any rough element. but a little city of refinement, charm and real homes. I believe if a new name were voted upon, every single citizen would vote “yes” to the change I have named, as a tribute to the bigness and civic pride of that citizen.

This Day In History: July 20th, 1919

This Day In History: July 20th, 1919


Select a committee of dynamite men who have the confidence of the community: let them name an energetic committee to carry out any plan decided upon by the original committee; secure the services of an expert to aid in the work determined upon; and have a survey made of existing’ conditions so as to determine the best course to pursue.

This was the solution of the municipal expansion problem presented to the people of Milltown, at the second meeting of the Milltown Chamber of Commerce held in the Borough Hall last Wednesday night, by Mr. Perry R. MacNeille, an expert in civic planning who has done much to aid the government in the housing proposition, and pioneer in city building. Mr. Mac Nellie was secured through The Sunday Times, which has taken a great interest in the question of civic development, not only with regard to New Brunswick but also with the view of presenting ideas and making suggestions that would aid other communities in making their municipalities better places to live in.

Following Mr. Mac Neille’s address the Milltown Chamber of Commerce, of which Mr. H. R. B. Meyers is president, voted to have a survey made in accordance with the plan suggested by the speaker. What he said in his very practical talk to the people of this borough will apply to any community and if followed out will prove beneficial to other municipalities.

Planning Too Much.

In discussing the question of “Municipal Expansion,” the title he gave to his talk, Mr. Mac Neille said it was a great mistake to mass up too great a quantity of things one would like to do and not do anything. The great danger of a meeting of this sort was that one got an inspiration to do thinks but this often wasted itself away before anything material resulted.

“Be slow to determine the thing to be done and be rapid in setting the energies at work to do it,”

Mr. Mac Neille said he lived in a suburban community of New York where he went to rest and sleep. His business was in New York and it made no difference to him how long the town remained as dead as it was so long as it did hot become deader.

“But those of you who are in business here,” declared Mr. MacNeille, “are irrevocably committed to the program of civic expansion. Your success or failure, your happiness or misery, is tied up in this town. The majority of you cannot leave Milltown

“And no matter what your business is, no matter where your market your business cannot grow unless the town grows.”

He was sorry to say, however, that the storekeepers too often happened to be the blind ones in the matter of civic expansion, that the manufacturers, whose market was outside of the town, were not always the wideawake ones and the storekeepers were the laggards.

What Live Men Can Do.

As an illustration of the possibilities of a wide-awake Chamber of Commerce, Mr. Mac Neille referred to Pittsburg. There, upon the development of the steel industry at Gary, it was found business was decreasing and people were moving away. The Chamber of Commerce was a live and set to work to overcome this situation. They sent representatives to South America and Russia to get information First handed as to the possibilities of a market there for the products  of Pittsburg. They prepared a book in encyclopedia form, giving an alphabetical list of all the industries of the city and what each manufactured. A copy of this book was placed in the hands of every American consul so that at a glance, upon inquiry being made of him as to where various materials could be obtained, he could furnish the address of the manufacturer in Pittsburg

They also sent $40,000 for a survey in relation to housing, parks, recreation and so on, with the result that Pittsburg is the prosperous city it is today. This showed what a live, energetic Chamber of commerce could do.

Studying the Problems.

The speaker then dwelt upon the necessity of the various problems being adequately studied in order to secure success. There was an opportune time for everything and sometimes it paid to put off the doing of a thing till tomorrow rather than to start it today. Conditions might be better at a later date and twice the energy then aroused than if the undertaking was started at once.

He also cautioned his hearers that if they waited to do a thing, however, until a time when it could be done perfectly it would never be done. There is nothing in this world perfect. The writer of a book had once, he said, withheld its publication for forty years in order that it might be perfect in every detail. It was concerning the life of a king and he had been unable to find out just what the king had done during two weeks of his career. After these many years he found the king had really done nothing at all of interest during that missing period. He had made a trip and stopped along at various points along the way. Yet the world lost the benefits of this book for 40 years in order to make it perfect. Their purpose should be not solely that of making money and of making goods but the rendering of a social service, the achievement of which would place them head and shoulders above all their neighbors.

Task For Milltown.

The task for Milltown, as he saw it was to select first a committee of dynamic men, men who had a vision, men who had the confidence of the community. They should be selected very carefully and should be men who, if they say it is wise for Milltown to do a certain thing the citizens will also say it is wise and support them.

This committee should select another committee of energetic, active men who, when a course is determined upon, will see to it that it is carried through. The services of an export would also be necessary, one who knows all the hitches likely to be encountered in the line of work determined upon and can guard against them so that everyone who works will know that he did something.

Importance of Survey.

Mr. MacNeille impressed upon the members of the Board the importance of making a survey so as to ascertain the economical, geographical and natural advantages, where the markets are, what new markets can be opened up and how old markets can be increased.

Sanitation was to be considered and plan necessary so as to prevent waste in the future, in some cities he said the streets grew wherever the cow wandered. In Altoona, he declared the brain of the engineer became weary and they laid the town out without any regard to future development with the result that some of the streets were so hilly that fire engines could not get up them. At Three Rivers streets were now being closed, because they were built in the wrong place, and new streets being laid to accommodate factories. All because of a lack of plan in the beginning.

A town also needed recreation with its playgrounds. It also needed recuperation. One enjoys a period of rest when he walks through beautiful streets, said Mr. Mac Neille, but he doesn’t get any rest when he walks through ashes.

“In riding through your town this afternoon, I was amazed at the beauty of the rear yards,” he said. “Everything was beautiful except the streets, and it needs so little to improve them the establishment of grade, the laying of a curb and the planting of a little grass.”

Estimating The Cost.

Just as the dressmaker, before starting to make a dress, gets a pattern to go by and estimates the cost so as to be sure her pocketbook will meet the needs, or an architect draws up a plan based upon a certain amount to be spent, so a city not only; makes a plan but prepares a budget so as to know where the money is to come from when needed.

“But money alone won’t build your city,” continued the speaker. Goodwill and good spirit are needed also. The town needs the spirit of all its citizens behind it. The wonderful accomplishments of America during the war was due to the energies of all being centered in winning the war. It is just so with a town. All minds must be centered upon the things to be accomplished to make them a success.”

Milltown, he said, was awake. It had a Chamber of Commerce which had just started out and was on the threshold of its accomplishments. The torch should be kept burning and carried forward. They not only should keep it burning and keep it moving out Keep the vigor there, giving it over to younger men when those carrying it had accomplished all they could. In this way Milltown would become the city pictured by many of those present.

Town To Decide.

Following his talk Mr. Mac Neille answered questions put to him by those in the audience. In reply to one questioner, he said it was up to the people of the town to decide upon what they wanted. They could tell in a general way what appealed to them, what they most missed. From all the suggestions made that favored by the majority should be chosen first and if the committee found it desirable and sanctioned it that made its success assured.

Mac Neille met a number of the residents of Milltown during his short stay there and was much interested in the town and its success. He found the people anxious to do whatever they could to develop the town. Everywhere there was a spirit needed to back up municipal development. That the townspeople appreciated his visit was shown by a standing vote of thanks given him at the Chamber of Commerce meeting.

This Day in History: July 13th, 1919

This Day in History: July 13th, 1919


The second meeting of the Milltown Chamber of Commerce will be held Wednesday evening, July 16th, in Borough Hall there, when the very interesting plans and ideas discussed at the former meeting of that body will receive further attention and consideration.

The Sunday Times, which is greatly interested in the development of Milltown and sees wonderful possibilities for this town, has secured a well-known authority on city planning and civic improvement to address the meeting Wednesday evening. He is Mr. Perry R. Mac Nellie, who will give constructive suggestions for the improvement of Milltown along the best lines.

“He is Mr. Perry R. Mac Nellie, who will give constructive suggestions for the improvement of Milltown along the best lines.”

The Sunday Times – July 13th, 1919

Has Had Long and Varied Experience

Mr. Mac Neille has had a career that well fits him for the high position he now occupies in the engineering world. He studied first at Columbia University, and followed these studies by- a series of investigations in Europe in the field of industrial housing, engineering and architecture. He has been a member of the engineering corps of the N. Y, N, H. & H. Railroad and also carrying on extensive real estate and land surveys covering immense projects, besides being employed as, a structural engineer for many large and notable Buildings.

In Partnership With Horace B. Mann

About twenty years ago he formed a partnership with Horace B. Mann, and the firm of Mann & Mac Neille was started with offices in New York and Chicago. In the ensuing years, in addition to the regular line, the firm has specialized in industrial housing, municipal expansion, zoning and other city planning; among the many industrial housing projects developed has been that of the Goodyear Tire and Rubber Company at Akron, Ohio.

Active War Work

When Dean Herman Schneider of the university of Cincinnati was asked to establish the Industrial Service Section of the Ordnance Department he requested the services of Mr. Mac Neille to organize and direct a Housing Branch of the Ordnance Department. Under Mr. Mac Neille’s direction all housing activities of the Ordnance Department for a period of approximately one year were carried on, and the firm of Mann & Mac-Neille was retained as consulting architects. The work entailed not only layout of villages and design of houses, but careful study of community facilities and activities together with analyses of industrial and civic conditions in active centers in practically every section of the country.

Well Fitted to Advise

It may easily be seen from the foregoing that Mr. Mac Neille is well qualified to talk about matters pertaining to the development of towns and cities. No citizen of Milltown should fail to hear him at the meeting there Wednesday evening. Milltown has opportunity to become the “best looking town” (if we may use such words in connection with a community) that New Jersey boasts. In fact it has a chance to become a city.

Milltown has opportunity to become the “best looking town” … that New Jersey boasts. In fact it has a chance to become a city.

The Sunday Times – July 13th, 1919

Mr. Perry R. Mac Nellie