Meanderin' thru Florida

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Thinking back to  the days that animals roamed Florida, we know that they found the easiest ways to move about.  The more they followed the same path, the  wider it became.  Thus when the Indians inhabaited Florida it was natural for them to follow the animal routes.

As White settlers came on the scene, they improved the trails.  Straw was laid  on the roads in some areas to make it easier to travel.  One story tells of a man hired to do just that.  Upon completion of his work between two areas some 3-4 miles distant, there came a huge downpour and all his hard work washed away.  He had to do it all again.

Many highways were nothing more than sand.  By the late 1920's  a brick single lane road -probably our present 441 was the way to travel from Georgia into Florida.  The brick road was merely laid on top of the sand- no mortar between. Tools were necessary for the trip in the early 1900's--  Shovel, Croaker sacks, boards.  When you met someone on the road, each would have to put one side of their car's wheels off the road in order to pass.  When you got by, each got out and helped the other car back on the road.  Boy, for the good old days to return.  Maybe they weren't so good after all.  It sure was different.  
My grandfather told of stopping when he saw a brick that was not in place.  He would put it back in place.  He soon realized he would never reach central Florida if he kept that up.   I look at the brick roads that are in some cities of Florida and wonder how they have held up so well after almost 100 yrs.   Most are not level after all this time giving the suspension under the cars a great time keeping us from bouncing all over the place.

Since Georgia had many clay composition roads, Florida followed suit.  Clay is still used in the National Forest's and many rural areas of Florida.  To keep them from being so slick when it's wet, sand is mixed in with the clay.

Next concrete was added to the sides of the bricks to hold them in better and mortar was added  between the bricks.  Over the years the bricks sank down some and the "lip" if you hit it just right could flip a car over.  Then we moved on to " blacktopped" roads which are still around today, although the process has been streamlined.  We now recycle the road composition.

Some parts of 441 were large sections of concrete with rubber between them to allow for expansion in hot weather.  
 It sometimes looks like there will be more roads than houses as we continue to want to move around more.

Now in the early 2000's we have roads that are built  with as many as 8 lanes.  Some are built on top of other roads to allow different speeds and access for the autos.  ............ Fran Smith         


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