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Plank Crossing on Columbia Street

December 21, 2016

Plank walk ways were common along the river, but were also evident on “dry” land. As the photo, from the streetcar era, illustrates, and the anecdote below, from 1886, explains, the crossings were one-dimensional, and not without risk, calling for some delicate ettiquette.

columbia-street-plank-crossing

In single file, two men cross Columbia Street.

“The Old Stager And The New Comer –
At 7 o’clock on Wednesday morning htey were on Columbia street, one on each side.
The old stager turned to cross, and in three seconds the other turned intending to pass over on the same path; but he quickly retracted his steps and waited on the sidewalk for the old boy who approached him smiling and said:
“Good Morning, sir. You came from Dublin or London?”
“Why do you think so?” said the other.
“Well,” said the old chap, ” if you were a Yankee or a Provincial you’d be in a great hurry, we’d meet in the middle and one of us should step into that six inches of mud.”
The young man laughed heartily and said: “You made a good guess. I left London five weeks ago.”
They dined together in the evening and the young man was greatly amused by the description the old fellow gave of the Strand, the Parliament House, Rotten Row, and Westminster Abbey. In ten minutes they appeared to be old friends.”

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