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Real estate record and builders' guide: v. 43, no. 1108: June 8, 1889

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June 8. 1889 Record and Guide. 791 ,^L De/oteD 10 f^EJ^L EsTWE, BuiLDif/o AR.cifiTECTai\E .Household DEQORAriotJ. BJsii^ess aiIdThemes of GeNeraL 1;jt£i\esj PRICE, PER TEAU IN ADVANCE, SIX DOLLARS. Published every Saturday, TELEPHONE, - - . JOHN 370. j^oidmiiiilcatioDS should be addi'essed to C. W. SWEET, 191 Broadway. /. T. LINDSEY, Business Manager. Vol. XLIII. JUNE 8, 1889. No. 1,108 The sliort-lioraed bull market in "Wall street does not like the continued heavy gold shipments, and it is no wonder, for sooner or later it must give way if these contiuue. The events of the week liave all been of au extremely discouraging nature. General business shows no improvement; disasters without parallel have come upon parts of the country, railroad rates are again a distm-bing influeuce, and agaiust this serious combination of circumstances the bulls only poiut to tlie indications, and they are good ones, of a big crop. Conservative investors are disposed to wait a little until thiugs are running more smoothly, aud tliey have some evidence that foreign capital is more disposed to flow in this direction. It is probable that next week will give more f3,vorable accounts, or at least that what news does come will not have the uncertainty which has giveu rise to so much fear and doubt, as everything we have heard this week has done. Nothing will be lost by waiting. Already the estimates of loss, both of life aod luouey, iu Pennsylvania are beiug largely reduced. The Cambria Company, which at oue time was put down as losing ^6,000,000, has reduced the amount to something like 1^300,000, and it is probable that the Pennsylvania Company will also find that matters are not so bad as the early accounts made them appear. The necessity of more rapid transit is so imperative that every attempt to find a new mode deserves candid consideration. As scon as rapid transit lines are established the city grows along and conforms to them. The difficulty is m making routes when this growth has ah-eady crystallized along other hnes. We have the prospectus of a uew line called the People's Rapid Transit Company. This company proposes to build an elevated viaduct road, taking a line of private property through the blocks, and crossing streets on arches of inasom-y. The flrst and imme¬ diate question they have to meet is the cost of this right of way. It would be very large, and would be just so much added to the cost of coustructing a road on an existing avenue. To meet the interest upon it the company proposes to erect business structures on their strip of property to support their elevated roadbed, and below it to furnish stores, warehouses and rooms for renting. This is a rejjro- diiction of a plan much considered years ago, when the great con¬ test was pending about the use of pubUc streets for a road. It was the subject of coutroversy in Governor Hoffman's time. The argu¬ ment then agaiast it was the high cost, the interference with pri¬ vate property, which provokes great opposition, and this logical point: the private property bordering on the new route would have great value, because it would front on a new thoroughfare. This was a speculative point at that time, now it is demonstrated. Now everyone sees that the avenue which has the gi'eitest travel, surface or elevated, has the greatest value. This bordering prop¬ erty ought to be brought into use. As Governor Hoffman said, why not make the uew avenue broad enough to accommodate travel and give tiiisgreat benefit to property owners? Make of theii- route a new business avenue. The answer was fitting. Instead of making a new avenue save that expense and take an existing avenue and benefit that; and so they did. West Broadway, Bth, 3d and 9th avenues show the wisdom of it. This plan of taking an existing avenue and benefiting it has been adopted and may well he extended. It can be by giving the roads now there a more substantial structure and four tracks. It would double their capacity. This is the immediate improvement in rapid transit. Broadway and the Boulevard is the great route which tlie people want, and where property would be doubled in value. To-day it is the underground that is proposed aud fought and resisted most blindly. The time will come when Broadway will be a three-story street, with an underground, a surface and an elevated story—alto¬ gether insufficient for its gi-eat travel, the travel which belongs to it and concentrates upon it, and which, if it is not di-iven away, will make of Broadway the greatest street in the world iu obe¬ dience to the law of the growth of cities, that where the greatest travel ia brought is fouud the highest value. The ?a[e of the Bonner lots, on Sth avenue and 57th street, to Mr, Huntington recalls the time, over twenty years ago, when they were worth $13,000 each. They are now worth ?8S,000 each. It illustrates the fact that some investments in land in this city have been profit¬ able, and the truth stands out that eveu to the present purchaser the investment will be a profitable one, if Mr. Huntington builds a residence, at ifcs estimated cost of a million and a quarter, on his lots, and adapts it to the use it will come to twenty years hence. When that tirne comes round, it will be a gi-eat property for a hotel or a club house, or a great warehouse. Fifth avenue does not last more than twenty years as a residence site. It is less than fifty years since the first house was erected on it, aud now the lower two miles of. its length are occupied by stores. Tbey exclude any new private residences, and as the old ones depart, busmess absorbs them, because it pays the'most reut. Twenty more years will carry this business occupatior- up to Central Park corner. It behooves the owuer now to build such a structure that it can be converted to the new use, and need not be demoUshed, The art of building has now readied the stage of the Roman i-epublic, wheu build¬ ings were erected for all tune. It has not, beeu so heretofore; but an iirchitect can now make them substantial forever and con¬ vertible to all future uses. The Stewart house on the 34th street corner has become nearly valueless, for want of this convertibility. It provokes tbe question, wbat will be done when the Sth avenue up to Central Park is occupied for business ? It is the fatal element in the plan of this city that the growth of private residences and of business is along one and the same liue; the latter push out the former in half a generation. There should have been a recess of small parks and stretches of avenue where private residences might have found a holdiug ground. But this was not foreseen. When private residences are driven from Sth avenue, where will they go? There will then be more palaces than now. This island presents finer sites than anything in the whole area of its suburbs. The high lauds bordering on Central Park aud on Riverside Heights will reach the point where they will diminish in supply, and as rapidly increase in price as the Sth avenue has doue. The daily papers, to all appearances, have just learned that there was such a tiling as the " Elock bill" passed recently by the Legis¬ lature. But two newspapers throughout tho winter had auy refer¬ ence to it editorially, one of which used it merely as a nail on which to hang an attack on Register Slevin. Yet few of the bills acted upon by the Legislature, hoth needed and deserved such care¬ ful attention from the press. Some sharp words spoken at the right time might have prevented sorae of the mutilations which the original measure had to suffer. The importance of an event is not to be measured by the amount of atteution it attracts, for the mcst important events are rarely striking. They culminate slowly, are a series of phases of a con¬ stant growth rather than rfvolntioua. and are often completed before they receive geueral recognition. The casting of certatu memorable chests of tea into the waters of Boston Harbor was the outcome of ideas that were part of the impalpable cargo of the iilayflower, and slowly expanded in New England for more than a century before they created a gi-eat historical event. One of the most important events going on tu this country now is the rapid conversion of the pubhc lands into private property. Since 1880 134,000,000 acres have heen settled under the homestead, pre-emp¬ tion and timber culture laws—an area greater than that of Indiana, Ohio, Michigan and lUinois combined. Sixty million acres or nearly one-iialf of this were in tbe Northwestern States aud Territories, thirty millions in Kansas, Colorado, Missouri, New Mexico ; nine¬ teen millions on the Pacific coast, and thirteen millious in the South. Along the Pacific roads alone 18,000,000 acres have been settled since the last census. This means the settlement of a territory nearly equal to the area of Germany, only a little smaller than Prance, and nearly twice as large as Italy and fom- times the size of England. The United States undoubtedly cover a great deal of space, but it is plain that at this rate jt cannot be long before all the good laud is settled. The exhaustion of the public domain musthave far-reaching effects, in many directions. In the first place, it wiU bring about a more rapid iucrease in the value of real estate everywhere. To some extent, periiaps to a great exttut, it will change the character of immigration. Its influeuce on the agricultural interests of the country cannot be estimated. The existence of a vast area of unoccupied land must have been an immensely powerful factor in shaping the growth and development of this couutry. There are many students of our institutions in Europe, and some ou this side of the water, who believe that tbe real test of the strength and value of these iustitutious will not be made imtil the land is al! occupied. The immense area of the public domain has undoubtedly caused tbe coimti-y to grow much quicker than it has developed, and there is reason to expect that by-and-by the process will be reversed. Expansion will not he so easy. Thirty years ago Macauiay looked forward to this event when he wrote: "As long as you have a boundless extent of fertile aud unoccupied laud your laboring popu¬ lation will be far more at ease than the laboring population of the