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From: Texas Vegan (
Subject:         Re: "the first paved road anywhere" and "The Big Apple"
Date: April 5, 2006 at 10:05 am PST

In Reply to: Did you Know? posted by John(HI) on March 30, 2006 at 3:08 pm:

Actually, paved roads have been around for centuries.

Early versions of paved roads as we know them today were invented by two different Scotsmen in the 18th and 19th centuries, Thomas Telford, a building mason apprentice, and John Loudon McAdam, Scottish inventor of the macadam road surface.

"As the result of a parliamentary inquiry in 1823 into the whole question of road making, his views [McAdam's] were adopted by the public authorities, and in 1827 he was appointed Surveyor General of Metropolitan Roads in Great Britain. Macadamization of roads did much to facilitate travel and communication. The process was quickly adopted in other countries, notably the United States."

"In 1870, Edmund J. DeSmedt, a Belgian chemist, laid the first true asphalt pavement in Newark, New Jersey. He also went on to pave Pennsylvania Avenue in Washington DC."

As far as "The Big Apple" origins:

"“The Big Apple” was the catchphrase of New York Morning Telegraph track writer John J. Fitz Gerald in the 1920s. He admitted this twice and it was the name of three of his columns. He picked up the term from African-American stable hands at the Fair Grounds racetrack in New Orleans, probably on January 14, 1920.

"The “Big Apple” racing circuit had meant “the big time,” the place where the big money was to be won. Horses love apples, and apples were widely regarded as the mythical king of fruit. In contrast, the smaller, poorer tracks were called the “leaky roof circuit” or “bull ring” tracks.

"“The Big Apple” became the name of a club in Harlem in 1934, and Harlem itself was referred to as the “apple” at this time. A club in Columbia, South Carolina also took the “Big Apple” name, and it was here that 1937’s national “Big Apple” dance craze began."


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