Siuslaw Pioneer Museum

See the history

Back about 1913 or 1914 Florence was just a seaport town like a lot of others along the coast. It did not have many of what we call “modern conveniences", no electric lights, no city water, and no pavements. Anyone who had to drive a team to town can remember how slow they went, plowing through the sand, and feeling sorry for the team. Even people on some streets where the sand encroached onto the paths and what few sidewalks there were.

When the big mill came it brought new people to the coast country and some had good ideas for bettering certain conditions. There was one man who claimed that he could take the sand, mix it with asphalt, and make a pavement 6 inches thick that would hold up traffic.

There were those who cheered and those who jeered, and many bets were laid. He went before the Chamber of Commerce and laid such a plausible plan before them that they took it up. They solicited funds among the merchants and those having business on the street, and got enough signed up to pave the crossing downtown cornered by Kyle's store, Brund's confectionery, Florence Hotel, and I.O.O.F. hall. The old man went ahead with his paving. It was mostly done by hard work using a wheelbarrow and hand shovels and a team or two. It took much longer than it does now to accomplish the same amount of work. Every day there were men standing around watching and giving free advice, and every day the old man came nearer to the finish. When it was done it was time to pay up. That seemed to put the shoe on the other foot. Some who had promised to pay failed for one reason or another and that threw the added expense onto a few. But the paving was there for all to walk or drive over, and everyone who came to Florence made an excuse to cross that little square of pavement.