External influences. - First lines of growth of water-front city parallel to water front; of inland town, along intersecting turnpikes and of railroad town, away from railroad station along principal turnpike. - Contest between axial and central growth. - Normal city star-shaped. - Framework of cities laid down by water courses, turnpikes and railroads. - Influence of public buildings and exchanges. - Continuity the vital feature.
The first feature of any settlement to be noted is its correspondence with external influences, the first buildings of a commercial city clustering around the point of origin, whether a wharf, railroad station or turnpike intersection, in order to handle the traffic from the outside world. In a waterfront city the first line of growth is normally along the shore, both because additional docks and buildings opposite them start an axis of travel parallel to the waterfront, and also because the bank of a river or harbor furnishes a natural highway for the first settlersithe Strand in London being the typical first street of a waterfront city. Thus the first business street of New York was Pearl Street, originally on the. shore line of the East River; of Chicago, Water Street, on the edge of the Chicago River; of Boston, Washington Street, then in part on the shore line; of Savannah, Bay Street; of Bridgeport, Water Street, etc, these streets being now in most cases a number of blocks from the water, owing to the extension of land by filling.
Geneva in 1687. First streets parallel to the water front.
A not uncommon variation in this normal development has occurred where a creek emptying into the river or harbor made a sheltered landing-place, whose traffic brought business buildings on either side. When the size of ships was so increased that the creek became useless it was filled up, the business street, however, remaining, as with Broad Street in New York; Dock Street in Philadelphia, and Canal Street in New Orleans. Where the topography of the waterfront, either because of shallow water at each end or of cliffs along the banks, is such that only one good approach to the water exists, the first business street will normally extend back from the waterfront up the hollow between the hills, as at Evansville, Montgomery and Kansas City.
Richmond in 1781. Showing the first buildings on Main Street.
Utica in 1802. Typical start of a city at intersecting turnpikes.
In the. case of an inland town there may be four or more directions of growth along the lines of the intersecting turnpikes. Where an inland city originates from a railroad, the railroad station takes the place of the wharves of a waterfront city, and the first direction of growth is along the turnpike leading to the largest body of productive farming land. Since this usually lies along the valley through which the railroad runs, the first axis of growth is commonly parallel to the railroad. Wherever a town is found, in which the railroad station is evidently apart from the organic structure of the town, it is clear that the town existed before the railroad reached it.
Cleveland, 1796. The first streets run up the hill from the river docks.
The chief exceptions to these general principles would be where inland villages arose before their turnpikes were of importance, as with Lancaster growing up about a spring; Syracuse near the salt wells; Indianapolis artificially laid out, but with the settlers shifted over the city's site, first, by absence of timber on part of the city plat, next by the terminus of the canal, and next by the location of the National Pike.