New England Farmer 2(15):240 (July 20, 1850)


We had an opportunity last week of passing over a portion of the charcoal road between this place and Oconomowoc.

The road is now being built by chopping the wood four feet in length, and stacking it in the centre of the road bed, to the width of about six feet. It is then covered with dirt and saw, and fired in the usual manner. At first, the timber was cut into logging lengths, relied and piled in the centre of the road. This manner of operation has not proved satisfactory, the larger timber not charring with sufficient facility to produce the necessary quantity of coal, and has therefore been abandoned for the mode of operations above mentioned.

It is found that three cords of wood to the rod is sufficient to cover the road to the requisite thickness. After the wood is well charred, the pit is opened, and the coal is raked towards the sides of the road, leaving it eighteen inches in the centre, and twelve at the sides. The road thus formed soon settles into a compact bed. The piece of finished road that we saw had not been travelled much, but it was hard and solid, and left little impression of hoof-marks. The recent rains have had a tendency to increase its compactness, while it is left entirely dry. If these roads wear as well as we have every reason to expect, in our opinion, coal will prove to be the best material known for the construction of substantial and durable roads. The contractor has nearly sufficient wood cut for the completion of three miles, and calculates to have it all ready for burning by the first of July.—Watertown Register.