Our Past | 1926: Waterville says goodbye to dust, and hello to oil

Selected by Karen Larsen

According to Waterville Mayor Royal DeVaney, the town may be receiving some funding to perform chip sealing on certain roads in 2020. The resurfacing method combines the use of asphalt and gravel that bond together almost immediately after the resurfacing. The roads can be driven on in 30 minutes, and there is a minimal amount of loose gravel in this process. This represents an improvement over the process that was used in the recent past, when motorists had to watch out for flying gravel after resurfacing.

Technology in all areas of life keeps developing, without the average lay person being aware of the changes.

We would sure notice if we were present at the street oiling described in this July 1, 1926 article from the Waterville Empire-Press, though. It sounds both messy and smelly.


Streets are oiled

Waterville is enjoying the luxury of oiled streets this week and while it is a great relief to be rid of the dust, the pleasant odor of oil fills the air and gives us the appearance of being in an oil field.

The city council secured the portable spraying outfit of Stewart Prey at Orondo, who brought it up and on Monday morning it was loaded up with oil, hose attached with nozzle spray and set to work. It has proved more than successful and was much more easily applied than anticipated. It was started up with two hoses but it was found that one would work just as well and Claud Will, manipulating the nozzle, was able to apply it effectively. Ash Street was taken first, then Locust Street one block west of the Harmon Wilcox corner through town to the Waterville Hardware corner and Chelan Avenue from Locust Street to Ash Street. This pretty well covers the business part of town for an experiment, which will be watched with interest.