Washington about 1840, looking up Pennsylvania Ave. from the White House to the Capitol.
The first and simplest form of central growth is that of aggregation or adding of buildings one after another along the streets leading from the centre of the city. The first dwellings in a village are located near the business buildings, so that the merchants can walk to and from their business, and so great is the power of inertia that even in the smallest villages the few stores find it advantageous to be close together.
Broad street canal of New York in 1650. Location of early mercantile houses and the first exchange.
The influence of public buildings on the structure of a commercial city is small, unless such a commercial city is also a national capital, as with London and Paris. Where a city is wholly a political city, as is Washington, the public buildings largely determine the structure of the city. The smaller public buildings found in all cities, such as the Post Office and City Hall, have considerable influence in determininig the line of early growth, but are of constantly diminishing importance as the other factors of a city's life become stronger, so that not infrequently the public building which created a street in time becomes a detriment to it. It is easy to find public buildings badly located which have no effect on the. city's structure, as the Post Office in Chattanooga, the County Court Houses in Salt Lake City, Kansas City, Seattle and Tacoma, and the State Capital in Salt Lake City. If the City Hall includes a public market for the sale of vegetables, fruit, meat, etc, this being similar to a large shop attracts much daily travel, a good example being in Knoxville. In some cities, as in Columbus and Dayton, O., farmers sell their products from wagons on certain streets of the city on market days. When this was first instituted the shop-keepers on these streets feared injury to their trade and secured the passage of a city ordinance prohibiting it. Finding later that they had lost patronage by the removal of the farmers' wagons, they petitioned for their return, this experience showing the value to shop-keepers of massing people in front of their stores, even though the new attracting force consists of competitive sellers. The practice of surrounding public buildings with large grounds is a common one, by which their influence is nullified, the net effect being similar to that of a small park. Such a small park, even though including a public building, makes a bad break on a through business street, injuring especially the adjacent property on the same side of the street. It may sometimes slightly enhance the value of the business property facing it by concentrating travel on that side of the street, and in the largest cities furnishes a desirable outlook for high office buildings. The most detrimental effect of such ft public building in a small park is felt in the early stages of a city, where the park checks the. extension of the business centre. A public building surrounded by a park, if located in a residence section, tends to attract good residences, the outlook for the park more than off-setting what travel comes to the public building.
Richmond, Va., about 1840. Showing growth along river and up gradual slope to the south.
Farnam St., Omaha, 1863. Old buildings replaced by modern ones, leaving but few traces of first growth.