On this day in 1901, the Athens Banner reported that paving of Milledge Avenue would happen that summer, after delays of wet weather and a city full of alumni, friends, and family of graduates from the many schools in the Athens area.
MILLEDGE PAVING BEGINS MONDAY.The Work Will be Pushed Rapidly to an Early Completion.The city authorities were unable, after all, to begin the paving of Milledge avenue before the commencement season. First, the continued rains some time before prevented the beginning of the work, and when it became dry enough to start work, it was decided that inasmuch as it was so close to the commencencements, that the work be postponed until the visitors had left Athens. Work will be started on Milledge avenue by the city next Monday morning. There is not much time left to complete the work by next winter, but the paving will be rushed as much as possible. A large force of hands will go to work at that time.--Athens Daily Banner, 21 June 1901, p. 3, col. 5.
This was the initial paving of Milledge, and was not completed until November. Rather than the more industrial block paving used downtown, Milledge was macadamized, which means layers of broken stone were spread across the leveled road surface, then sealed with a binder. It was much cheaper to pave with this system, and repairs were not as expensive, as well.
The entire length of the street was not paved, but the paper still declared it "one of the prettiest streets in the South." It was repaved in 1906, with the Athens Electric & Railway Company paying for part of the work, as they laid rail to Lumpkin Street. The costs were split between the city, the railway company, and the property owners.
By 1914, Milledge was paved from Hill Street to Henderson Avenue. Two years later, 75 property owners petitioned to have the street paved from Springdale to Lumpkin. It was only paved to Woodlawn Avenue, so the following year, after complaints from residents about a Milledge Avenue that was "ankle deep in mud for the past three or four weeks," the city finally paved the road two blocks past Lumpkin Street. The longer paving was likely due to the new residences that had started to develop in the Five Points area on University Drive.
By 1923, Athens had spent nearly $1 million to have 105 miles of paved streets, and spent approximately $100,000.00 per year in maintenance and improvements. More than 50 miles of these streets had sidewalks, such as the brick ones recently restored along Hancock Street.
- Athens Daily Banner, Feb. 1901 - Oct. 1901 on Microfilm in the Heritage collection.
- Athens Historic Newspaper Archive collection in the Digital Library of Georgia.
- A Postcard History of Athens, Georgia by Gary L. Doster in the Heritage and general collections.
- History of Athens and Clarke County, Georgia by H. J. Rowe in the Heritage and general collections.
- Minutes of the Mayor and Council of the City of Athens, Georgia on Microfilm in the Heritage collection.
- A Place to Remember: Using History to Build Community by Robert R. Archibald in the general collection.
- Asphalt Nation by Jane Holtz Kay in the general collection.
- The Big Roads: The Untold Story of the Engineers, Visionaries, and Trailblazers Who Created the American Superhighways by Earl Swift in the New Books collection.
- Plain Tales from the Hills by Rudyard Kipling in the fiction collection.
- The Jungle Books by Rudyard Kipling in the fiction collection.