John Manke is an active former Bay View resident who is involved in numerous neighborhood organizations, including the Bay View Historical Society, the Humboldt Park Fourth of July Association and the Shore Shore Farmers Market. He believes Bay View has a fine tradition in its past that we do not want to lose in the future.
In reading the minutes of the Board of the Village of Bay View, I came across many references to the term "macadamize a road". It took a lot of research to discover what this meant. When new streets were added to the Village, they needed a strong base material to protect the road during rain storms and heavy horse traffic. While the sidewalks were made of wood, the roads were not made the same. It seems that the iron slag made from the production of Bessemer steel, made a perfect road surface. As long as the iron slag was plentiful, many of the streets in Bay View had this for a base material. This slag was almost as strong as concrete. The slag from coal furnaces also made a good hard surface for basic construction. When the supply of slag ran low, then sand was used as the base material for streets and alleys. This material has been lost in time and the word macadamize has been lost the same way. Now we use gravel and or sand before we add concrete or asphalt to our streets and alleys. One street that still has a slag base is the 3100 block of S. Illinois Avenue. In fact some of the yards also have a slag bottom under the grass surface. How many streets still have a slag base is unknown to me, but I know that there must be many out there in Bay View. Some day if you have time, visit your local library and find out about this road building process of yesteryear. You might be surprised about what you find out there. In the summer, it is a good idea to take your whole family to the local library and introduce them to reading and learning. This a great way to open up the minds of your children at no cost to you. You can start your child's education by showing them things that interest them and encourage them to be creative. Great children's education programs are started this way. A good local school will also be of great interest to them. This way they will have more time to be with their friends and have more time to do their homework. It is up to you on this matter. Check out your local schools and see what they have to offer your children's education. I think that you will like the results.