Posts Tagged ‘Edward N. Hines’

Detroit’s Edward Hines: cyclist and road doctor

Friday, November 4th, 2011

One of Detroit’s most famous cycling and Good Roads advocate received a posthumous award from Amsterdam: The Paul Mijksenaar Design for Function Award 2011.

White lines down the middle of the road: What could be more obvious? And yet they were once – in 1911, to be exact – a brilliant new idea. In Michigan, Edward N. Hines, a member of the Wayne County Road Commission, saw a leaky milk wagon leaving a liquid trail on a dusty roadway. It made him think of painting white lines down the centre of the road to create lanes that would clearly separate traffic moving in opposite directions.

The Detroit News and Free Press also acknowledged his award, but left out many of his other accomplishments which this 1914 article in Motor Age magazine sums up well.

Like scores of other notables whose names you will find in the “Who’s Who” of motordom, Edward Hines unknowingly rode out on a bicycle to meet Fame. This was two score and 4 years ago when he was an enthusiastic cyclist and a three-ply executive, serving simultaneously as vice-president of the League of American Wheelmen, chief consul of the Michigan division of the L. A. W. and president of the Detroit Wheelmen. He pedaled through the mud and mire and hurdled the bumps of the Wayne county highways until his leg muscles went on a strike and his vertebrae demanded shock absorbers. Sore and exhausted, he decided to turn reformer and take the initiative in an attempt to improve the highways radiating from Detroit.

In 1890 he formed a good roads organization which petitioned the state legislature to amend the constitution, make the counties instead of the townships the units for the building and maintenance of the highways and give the counties the privilege of adopting the county system. Three years of missionary work and lobbying elapsed before such a measure was passed. In the meantime, Hines superintended the construction of 3-foot wide bicycle cinder paths built with money raised through popular subscription by the Detroit Journal. He also coaxed through the legislature a bill protecting these paths from the roving kine and devastating wagons of the Michigan farmers.

County System Gradually Adopted

The county road law was passed in 1893. Its adoption by the various counties was certain and gradual. At the present time fifty-eight of the eighty-three counties of Michigan have seen the benefits to be derived from building their roads under skilled and intelligent supervision and have condemned former township road supervisors to the oubliette.

When Wayne county adopted the county system of road supervision 8 years ago, Hines was made chairman of the highway commission. Henry Ford, whom Hines knew as an ambitious young man and whose famous 999 he had timed in its first trial on the ice of Lake St. Clair, was a member of the county board and an ally of the road doctor of Detroit in his fight for the use of concrete in highway construction.

When first organized, the commission followed the accepted practices and started in to build bituminous macadam roads, but after a year’s experience in noting the wear upon them, foreseeing a constantly increasing maintenance charge and weeping as flotillas of motor cars scattered the so-called good roads into particles, it decided that a change was not only desirable, but imperative, and set out to find a material that was more permanent and durable and no more costly than macadam.

Edward Hines found such a material. It was concrete.

Hines thought roads were more than just concrete. He was an adamant supporter of road beautification efforts, which is why Hines Drive in Wayne County is named after him.

“I may want too much, I may be too visionary,” he said, “but I am going to have a road beautiful even if I have to spend my own money to satisfy such a desire.”

So don’t be surprised if in the future while touring in the vicinity of Detroit you suddenly run head-on into a mass of trailing arbutus, daffodils, chrysanthemums, lilies of the valley, orchids and forget-me-nots.

When Edward Hines wants something, he gets it.

If Hines were around today, he would probably “get” Complete Streets and Transportation Enhancements as well.

Congratulations on your award, Mr. Hines.

Bicyclists don’t pay their share of road taxes

Tuesday, October 18th, 2011

Some have vehemently claimed that bicyclists don’t pay road taxes and therefore shouldn’t benefit from good roads. Oh, and cyclists are arrogant.

Sounds like 2011? Try 1893.

The Michigan Legislature was about to pass the County Road Law which, upon a vote of the people, would amend the State Constitution to allow counties to levy taxes and construct roads. Some anti-tax farmers from Genesee, Michigan would have no part of that. [Ed. emphasis ours]

To the Honorable the Senate and House of Representatives of the State of Michigan, Lansing, Michigan:

We, the undersigned, farmers of the county of Genesee, Michigan, learning that there is a bill now before your honorable body the object of which is to repeal our present system of highway laws and enact in its stead laws making all highway taxes payable in cash, thereby depriving us of the privilege of paying a portion of our taxes in labor, and looking to large and expensive improvements on the highways of this State, would most respectfully and earnestly remonstrate against the passage of such an act. We as a class feel that our present system is sufficient for all practical purposes, and being a class of citizens upon whom the taxes of our State fall most heavily, do most earnestly protest against the passage of this or any other law that will tend to increase the taxes of the hard worked and already tax-burdened farmer, for the benefit, as it appears to us, of a comparative few non-taxpaying, arrogant wheelmen. And your petitioners will ever pray.

Linden March 2, 1893

The farmers didn’t win the argument. County Road Law of 1893 passed and the people amended the Michigan Constitution in 1894. This law was passed with leadership from the Good Roads movement, including Detroit bicyclist Edward N. Hines.

And as for today’s cyclists, yes, they do pay their share of taxes for roads. A recent Pew Charitable Trust study found that fuel taxes and vehicle license fees paid for 51% of road costs. The remaining 49% comes from other sources such a general funds and millages, which cyclists pay. That doesn’t include the external costs of motor vehicles which is borne by the general population.

Arrogant cyclists? Some. Freeloaders? Not at all.

Further Reading: The History of Roads in Michigan

1896: Detroit Wheelmen gathered at their new club house

Wednesday, September 7th, 2011

This article was originally published on page 6 0f the Detroit Free Press , March 8, 1896. Whatever happened to that little tin box they put in the clubhouse cornerstone? More information and photos of the Wheelman’s clubhouse:

Corner Stone is Laid: The Detroit Wheelmen gathered at their new home.

With a club yell and cheer, the little tin box containing records pertinent to the occasion was placed in the corner stone of the Detroit Wheelmen’s club house yesterday afternoon, and the band ———— [sic]. It was the red-letter occasion in the history of the organization, and now the members are feeling happy because they know they will soon have a home.

The members of the club formed at the house on Randolph street and marched to Monroe Avenue, thence to Woodward and north to Adams avenue, where the building is being erected. They were headed by the Parke, Davis & Co. band, and all wore the yellow and black of the organization. J. H. Gould, chairman of the building committee told the assembled hundreds of the hard work in marking a start, and of the progress of the fund since it was announced that there would surely be a club house. President Ed N. Hines recited the history of the club, which dates back to 1879 when the Detroit Bicycle Club was formed. Following this came the Star Club and the Ramblers and in 1890 the Detroit Wheelmen organize on Clifford street, moving to Miami Avenue [later renamed Broadway], thence into more commodious quarters on Washington avenue. From there the club made another move into the old dancing academy on Randolph street, and the next one will be into the handsome home of its own on Adams avenue, just east of the [Grand Circus] park.

In the box were the files of the Phonograph, the club’s paper, the constitution and list of members of both the Detroit Wheelmen and Unique Cycle Club, club colors and buttons and copies of the daily papers.

Behind the group of members at the front of the building was a sign in yellow and black, “D.W. 1879-1896.” After a photograph had been taken the members marched back to the club.

The Detroit Wheelmen promises to be one of the most popular clubs in Detroit and its membership will be very large by the time the club house is ready for occupancy on August 1. The spirit of good fellowship has brought many in and the acquirement of property will help more than anything else. The building committee, consisting of J. H. Gould, C. W. Lloyd, E. N. Hines, Theo. Osius, E. S. Anderson, L. Vineberg, and Harry E. Dennis, has worked long and hard for the house and the handsome structure will be a reward for the labor spent. The officers of the club at present are as follows:

(more…)

The Bicycle Pavilion on Belle Isle

Friday, October 2nd, 2009

Detroit's bicycle pavilion on Belle IsleIn 1898, the League of American Wheelmen (LAW) Michigan Division secured a $10,000 appropriation from the city of Detroit. The money was to build a bicycle pavilion on Belle Isle.

They followed up with another $2,500 the following year to “furnish up bicycle pavilion with pump, repair outfit, racks, and other conveniences” according to Edward Hines.

During this time, the mayor of Detroit was William Maybury. The Mayor was presumably a bicyclist since he was a member of the LAW. A statue of Maybury is in Grand Circus Park, sitting in a chair opposite of Mayor/Governor Hazen Pingree.

Just prior to this pavilion being constructed, a New York park agency inquired about how Detroit handles bike parking and bike rentals. Detroit park commission secretary and manager M. P. Hurlbut explained that there was a small (less than 1,000 square feet) pavilion that was bid out to companies renting bikes on Belle Isle. The winning bid was $1,000.

Hurlbut then explained the purpose of the larger planned pavilion:

It is to be a two-story building and the first or ground floor ‘will be used by bicycle riders in case of stormy weather to store their wheels in, and undoubtedly some time in the future there will be a privilege for renting bicycles leased from this building, and possibly a temporary repair shop.

“Wheels” is another term for bicycles.

110 years after being built, the pavilion still stands on Belle Isle, though it is now called the Athletic Pavilion. It is between the now-closed zoo, athletic fields, and tennis courts in the center of the island. From the outside, it seemed to be in decent shape.

The size and grandness of this pavilion is a testament to the strength and importance of bicyclists in the city of Detroit in the late 1890s.

Edward Hines asks you to join the League

Tuesday, September 29th, 2009

LAW-bulletin-good-roadsHere’s a piece of Detroit cycling history: A membership plea from Edward Hines that was published May 11th 1899 in the League of American Wheelmen Bulletin.

Here are 20 arguments why you should belong to the Michigan Division LAW. If you are a member read them over carefully and then present them to your friends urging them to join our ranks. Also send in your renewal promptly. If you are not a member read them over and be convinced that you should be a member and then forward us your application.

  1. Drafted introduced and passed the Anderson Bicycle Baggage Bill compelling the railroads of Michigan to carry bicycles as personal baggage free of charge (1897)
  2. Defeated the passage of a special tax of $1 a year on wheelmen in 1897
  3. Issued a road book in 1897 and 1898
  4. Secured a Supreme Court decision against the toll-road corporations, prohibiting them from charging wheelmen toll
  5. Put an active and wide awake wheelman on the Park Board in Detroit
  6. Secured the passage of an anti glass and tack law in Detroit
  7. Secured the passage of a most liberal bicycle ordinance for Detroit – no lamps, no bells, 12 miles an hour speed limit, keep to the right for all vehicles, no riding hands off, no riding more than three abreast, and sidewalk riding permitted on unpaved streets
  8. Prosecuted 23 “road hogs” in 1898 winning every case
  9. Secured a more severe punishment for bicycle thieves
  10. Secured an appropriation of $10,000 from the city of Detroit to build a bicycle pavilion for wheelmen on Belle Isle in 1898
  11. Secured an additional appropriation of $2,500 to furnish up bicycle pavilion with pump repair outfit racks and other conveniences for wheelmen in 1899
  12. Drafted and secured the passage through the state legislature in 1899, a bill to protect cycle paths and to provide for punishment of violations
  13. Encompassed the defeat of a bill before the present legislature to prohibit wheelmen using sidewalks under all circumstances in all parts of the state
  14. Secured a dry strip of five feet in width on all the principal sprinkled streets in Detroit
  15. Arranged with the Board of Public Works in Detroit to remove glass or other hurtful substances, likely to damage bicycles or bicycle tires immediately upon notification
  16. Secured the passage of some good roads amendments before the present session of the state legislature – not all we hope to secure in the way of a good roads bill, but an entering wedge
  17. Have kept up a constant agitation for good roads is gradually bearing fruit
  18. Have secured the repeal of a dozen local ordinances in various parts of the state which worked a hardship upon wheelmen
  19. Has made cycle path building possible in Michigan
  20. Maintains a sharp lookout on all legislative matters the rights and privileges of wheelmen and creates and stimulates wheeling enthusiasm

Now when you have read the above through carefully yourself the question. Don’t I as a wheelman get $1 a benefit through the LAW whether if ride much or little. Are you not willing to lend a helping hand to help us carry our future plans. We want more cycle paths, we want roads, we want danger signs erected, we want guide erected, we want to be fully protected at all times with our bicycle, we want our rights and privileges maintained, and can get what we want by joining the LAW, sticking to LAW, and getting our friends in the LAW. We spent all of our money to secure benefits and privileges for wheelmen and to have our various wants taken care of we must have the financial and numerical support of the wheelmen of our state. It isn’t enough that you should merely belong you should do something occasionally for the wheelmen’s cause and the time to start is now. I again say read the above over carefully then hand this to a friend get his application and have him pass it along to a friend of his.

Edward N Hines, Chief Consul
League of American Wheelmen (L.A.W.) Michigan Division

There was a bicycle pavilion on Belle Isle? There still is. We’ll post more about that soon.

Also the LAW had folded by 1924. At some point thereafter, Detroit’s “most liberal” bicycle ordinances were changed to require bicycle bells, lights, and registrations.