crown CU Home > Libraries Home
[x] Close window

Columbia University Libraries Digital Collections: The Real Estate Record

Use your browser's Print function to print these pages.

Real estate record and builders' guide: v. 34, no. 862: September 20, 1884

Real Estate Record page image for page ldpd_7031128_034_00000271

Text version:

Please note: this text may be incomplete. For more information about this OCR, view About OCR text.
September 20. 1884 The Record and Guide. 947 THE RECORD AND GUIDE. Published every Saturday. 191 Broad-way, N. Y. TERMS: ONE WAU, in advance, SIX DOLLARH. CommunicatiotiB should be addressed to C. W. SWEET, 191 Broadway. J. T. LINDSEY, Business Manager. SEPTEMBER 20. 1884, Tbe stock market bas been weak, and it ahowa no sigiiR of imme¬ diate recovery, Tfae assurance that a great corn crop has been secured seems to have had no effect beyond perhaps stopping a serious break in prices. Tfao fact is. railway earninga are small, notwithstanding the large amount of wheat which is being carried and it is not likely that the companies will average as good a busi! ness as last year until the corn begins to move in quantities, which will not be before December. In the meantime it looks as if wo will have a dull, but reasonably strong, market. The savings of the community promise to go into real estate this fall and winter, as all securities from railways to those of banks and other corpora¬ tions are looked upon with suspicion. The corn crop is at last out of danger; a frost now would not injure more than 50,000,000 bushels, which is a small percentage of a crop which may reach 1,900,000,000 bushels. " Sir Oracle " last spring ventured to predict that thia summer's corn crop would be a very large oue. He argued that the high price of com for three yeara paat, its exceptional value as compared with wheat for cattle feeding, would lead to an immense area of ground being planted in that cereal. Aa we have had partial failures of the corn crop since 1881, he thought that on- the doctrine of averages this year the weather conditions would be favorable. Hence, he believed that a good season would result in acorncrop of over two billion bushels. Tbe agricultural bureau, however, places the total somewhat lower, but then the corn of this summer is exceptionally good. There were never finer ears grown, and measured by quality a crop of 1,900,000,000 bushels ia more valuable than a very much larger crop in quantity. The country is to be congratulated upon the vast addition to its wealth which thia great corn crop insures. The political canvass drags its slow length along. So far it has been a campaign of personal assaults of the lowest kind. Our polit¬ ical journals are really unreadable, and wise parents would do well to keep them away from their children. Some time since The Rec¬ ord AND Guide tried to start an agitation for holdmg a national convention to revise the constitution of the United States. If no other good would come of it we argued that it would purify and ennoble political discussions in this country. If our public men and the press were earnestly engaged in discussing the fundamental principles which lie at the foundation of our government they would have no time or heart to canvass the private liven or morals of opposing candidates. Tbe contemplation of great themes [elevates the mental horizon of the citizens of free repub- ilicp, but personal politics are always degrading. Better a foreign war or a great national peril than peace and plenty with i people's passions stirred by details of the private corruption of ; their eminent men or the dishonor of their publfc life. ------------------J—•-------------------■—' I Mr. Henry Villard unbosoms himself in a letter to the stock¬ holders of tho Northern Pacific Road. He makes a very good jdefense for himself. He w^as deceived, it seems, by his engineers. |They said that $30,000,000 would be sufficient to complete the iNorthern Pacific Road. It took nearly $40,000,000. The Northern Pacific was frequently on the verge of bankruptcy, because the igovornment failed to issue patents for the lands when money was most needed. The West Shore engineers, it will be remembered, made even greater mistakes in their estimates than did the North¬ ern Pacific engineers. Such errors are inexcusable, and the engi¬ neers who make them should be put on a black list to warn all railway promoters not to engage them. An under-estimate of 10 or 15 percent, might be explainable, but when the cost is double ind treble the original estimate the engineer making the mistake cannot be too sternly condemned. Chicago is growing so fast that the tenement house, such as is known in its worst forms here East, is beginning to make its ippearance. That city, fortunately, can grow in any direction but >ne. It is the greatest railway centre in the country, and hence leretofore there baa been plenty of cheap land on which to build iwttagea for the wprking classes, put the saipf impulse which attracts the well-to-do into hotels and apartment houses bas created a demand for tenements for tbe poor, where they can herd with their fellows. This has caused some alarm among benevolent and public-apirited Chicago capitalists, and they are moving in the matter to prevent a duplication of our poorer and viler tenements in tho capital of the Northwest. It is proposed to build the right kind of houses and offer the apartments at rents so low that there will be no demand for tenements of the meaner sort. The Impulse which actuates these Chicago capitalists is a good one, but there should be no codling of the poor—no giving them gratuities to leseen their self-reapect. The leading citizens of Chicago should see to it that there is a wise building law enacted which will force house builders to put up structures affording proper light and air to tenants and guarding them against the evils of infection from defective plumbing. Then the working people should be encour¬ aged to purchase tbeir own cottages, for there is an abundance of land south, west and north of Chicago suitable for homes for the working classes. The magnificent railway systems of that city can supply all the accommodations needed even were Chicago ten timea ita present aize. A Few Significant Facts. Rufua Hatch haa a good head, but in business matters he is apt to be " too previoua." His talks ia the newspapers are interesting reading but the facts he sets forth are not seldom wrongly inter¬ preted. In a recent conversation he draws a comparison between lb73 and 1884, to show how much better off we are now than eleven years ago. Then our population was not more than 39,000,- 000; it is now 57,000,000. In 1873 onr wheat crop, the largest raised up to that time, was 281,000,000 bushels; that of 1884 may reach 620,000,000. The corn crop of that year was 933,000,000 bushels, while the lowest estimate of the crop of this year is 1,800,000,000. Our oat crop was then 280,000,000 bushels, while this year it may reach 600,000,000 bushels. During the past nine vreeks we have exported 18,000,000 bushels of wheat, against 11,000,000 bushels last year. The total railroad mileage in the United States in 1878 was less than 70,000 miles ; to-day it is fully 122,000 miles. The. increase in the business of the country is shown by the traasactions of the Western Union Telegraph Company. In 1873 it had 154,000 miles of wire; in 1883 it had 433,000 miles of wire. The groas earnings in 1878 were $9,300,000 per annum ; in 18S3 they were $19,400,000. Tha number of messages had increased in the aame time from 14,400,000 to 41,000,000. In the meantime rates had been reduced from 64 cents to 38 cents per message. In 1873 a message from New York to Chicago cost $2.50 for ten words ; to-day twenty words can be sent for 35 cents. Mr. Hatch f urtheir calls attention to the significance of the growth of Chicago, Kansas City, and he might have added New York, as well as other cities, w^ithin these ten years. The anthracite coal trade has added one-third to its production, while petroleum has increased from 188,000,000 gallons to 506,000,000 gallons. In the meantime our national debt has decreased, ll was $3,163,000,000 in 1874 ; itis now only $1,498,000,000. Then our debt was held very largely abroad ; nine-tentha of it is now owned by our own people. From these and kindred facts Mr, Hatch very sensibly concludes that the average business man should take a hopeful view of the future. There has, he thinks, been an over-production of manufact¬ ured articles, but he infers that this will regulate itself, and the con¬ suming community will soon be in a condition to absorb all that is manufactured. But on one point Mr. Hatch is curiously illogical. In his letter he says : "Wall street has had its shrinkage, and it is time to stop predicting ruin and hard times with the panic of 1873 as a text. Real estate may decline in value, and in all probability it will, for with the increase of w^ealth will come the desire to invest money where it will net 4 per cent, per annum. With government bonds netting less than 3 per cent, it ia natural to sup¬ pose that the time must aoon come when real estate will no longer net 6 per cent, and over," This is very perverse leasoning. Clearly, if the population and the wealth of the country is increasing, land, which is a fixed quantity, muat rise in value. There are special causes at work which are lowering the price of realty in Great Britain, but as we are adding over two million to our population every year, and there is in addition a steady increase ia our wealth, land must become more and more in demand. It is just posaible, that after the present cycle of speculation is complete, there may be a tem¬ porary depression in real estate, more especially in the speculative districts near large cities, but there can be no serious set-back in values in city property on the line of improvement or in farms which pay a good interest on growing crops. Mr. Hatch is all wrong about real estate ; that kind of property has a better future than any other commodity dealt in by speculators or investors. A contemporary real estate journal urges tbe widening of sundry of our down-town streets, and euggests that it be done by piece¬ meal ; that all new ptnictures should be set back five feet or more