By Brad Dison
One hundred years ago, the streets of Arcadia consisted of dirt roads strewn with litter. Occasionally, workers sprayed the streets with oil to keep the dust under control. A week earlier, the town’s chamber of commerce met to discuss ways they could clean up the town’s streets and keep them clean. The chamber voted to send a committee before the town council to ask that they review “the old statue prohibiting the throwing of trash on sidewalks or streets on penalty of fine.” They voted in favor of a provision to provide the town with a “scavenger wagon” or some other means of disposing of the trash that was gathering on the streets around stores and homes.
Mayor Barnette and the town council had been working for some time on another street improvement plan. The town was continuously spending money in an effort to keep the streets passable with little success. The only way to eliminate the constant expense and clean up the town, they decided, was to pave the streets.
The streets included in their plan consisted of “Maple Street from Dixi[e] highway to Railroad; Front Street from the old Goff shop property to Dallas Roberson’s transfer stable; Myrtle Street from Dixie highway to town branch, and Hazel Street from Dixie highway to Railroad.”
The Vicksburg, Shreveport & Pacific railroad owned the majority of the property along the aforementioned streets, and therefore would be responsible for more “cash money” to cover the cost of the paving plan than any individual property owner. R.L. Taylor, president and manager of the Arcadia Cotton Oil Mill & Mfg. Co., planned to finance the project, and would give property owners “certificates of indebtedness” for the amount spent on the paving process based on the size of their property. The railroad company and property owners were said to be eager for the paving process to begin as it would aid in the overall prosperity of the business of the town.
Source: Bienville Democrat, January 18, 1923, p.1.