Anon Moore [pseud. for James M. Galloway],
John Harvey: A Tale of the Twentieth Century. (Chicago: Charles H. Kerr & Company, 1897)19-26.Galloway's utopian novel tells of a model city in a new kind of society--the Nationality--created in Colorado by its leader, John Harvey. The narrator, supposedly the "eldest son of the Duke of Dorsetshire," comes to the United States in 1935 "less than a quarter of a century" after Harvey began his work. The narrator tells us the Nationality "embraced a very large area, including the States of Utah, South Dakota, Nebraska, Kansas, Colorado, Wyoming, Arizona, New Mexico, and a large part of Texas." We learn that this area is about one-fourth the size of Europe and contains more than ten million persons. One of the chapters in the book includes a description of the principal city, Neuropolis.I reached Neuropolis late in the evening and found lodgings in one of the great hotels of the city.
Utopian novels of this period usually contain a description of a city in the future society that the author presents to the reader. Few are as detailed as the one provided us by Galloway. Instead of dismissing this as pure romance, the modern reader should look at Galloway's prescription for the perfect city as a reflection of the hopes and expectations for the attainable future of both professionals and ordinary citizens. Galloway wrote only four years after the great World's Fair in Chicago--an exposition dubbed The White City--and considered at the time as an example of how a real city might organize its services and beautify and embellish its appearance. Although Galloway's Neuropolis existed only in his mind, it is quite likely that he believed its creation was well within the realm of reality. Galloway also drew a plan of the city. His design of a basic rectangular system of streets overlaid by major diagonal thoroughfares and incorporating several large open spaces was wholly compatible with concepts of city planning favored by many professional designers of the time.
I had resolved on maintaining an incognito that I might better and more unobtrusively observe and study the institutions of the country, and had prepared for this by procuring letters of introduction and recommendation in the name simply of Mr. Herbert Maxwell, and had so registered and made myself known since landing in America.
A great city, as well as a great country, has many sides, and the stranger desirous of acquiring more than a cursory knowledge of it would better begin with the study of its physical features.
My first days in the capital were accordingly spent in examining its topography and other material characteristics.
It is situated on the eastern side of the great canal before mentioned, about fifty miles from the base of the mountains, and a few miles northward from the summit or crest of the divide between the watersheds of the ArKansas and Platte Rivers.
It is surrounded by a branch of this canal, taken out twenty miles to the northward, running thence eastward and southward, forming in natural depressions several large lakes and emptying into another great branch of the canal known as Lateral B, fifty miles from the point of departure.
The true form of the city proper was a perfect square, but extensive suburbs, to the north and south, gave it somewhat of an oval appearance.
The great freight depots and manufactories for the heavier classes of goods, as well as the plants for furnishing water, electricity, heat and other necessities of the city, were located in the northern suburbs, while the passenger depots and manufactories for the lighter and cleaner classes of goods were situated in the southern. Both suburbs, however, were connected with the great trunk lines of railroad running in all directions from the city. The manufactories and business houses in them, though not lofty, were large and comfortable,and everything around them was kept scrupulously neat and clean.
The employe[e]s nearly all lived in the city proper, going to and returning from their labors night and morning in vehicles driven by electricity.
These suburbs, though a part of the city and under the same general government as the rest of it, were divided from it by a boulevard two hundred feet wide, which encompassed it on its four sites. They are not therefore included in the description which I shall now give, with the aid of the accompanying diagram of the city proper.
A great square, each side facing a cardinal point of the compass and measuring twelve hundred feet in length, formed the center of the city. This contained about thirty acres and was called the Administration Square. An avenue two hundred feet wide, known as the Administration Boulevard, extended around this square. It was divided lengthwise in the center, except where the other boulevards hereafter mentioned entered it, by an ornamental strip ten feet wide, in which grew trees, shrubbery, vines, and flowers of great variety and beauty.
From the outer sides of this Administration Boulevard, eight other boulevards, each two hundred feet wide, extended through the city, connecting with that surrounding it at its outer limits. Four of these ran diagonally from the angles of the Administration Boulevard to the corresponding angles of the outer boulevard, and were named respectively the Northeast, Northwest, Southwest and Southeast Boulevards. They divided the city into four great cantonments.
Of the others, one began at the center of each side of the Administration Boulevard, and extended at right angles to it, bisecting the cantonment and terminating also in the outer Boulevard, and these four were called Cardinal Boulevards, and distinguished by the points of the compass to which they ran.
The remainder of the city was traversed by streets one hundred feet wide, which formed blocks seven hundred feet in length and three hundred feet in width, the long sides of the blocks being parallel with the sides of the Administration Boulevard next them.
On each cardinal boulevard, midway through the cantonment it traversed, four blocks were occupied by the public buildings and grounds of the cantonment.
On the diagonal boulevards, at the same distance from the Administration Square, four other blocks were devoted to public parks containing nearly fifteen acres each, and at the intersecting of these boulevards with the outer one were similar parks of double the acreage.
Where blocks were bisected elsewhere by these diagonal boulevards the dwellings faced them, and the parts of the blocks too narrow for building were thrown into parks and set with trees, flowers, grass and shrubbery, and also beautified by fountains and statuary.
In the other residence portions the dwellings faced the streets on the long sides of the blocks, the lots extending to the center of the block.
Such was the general topography of the city--the architectural character of its public buildings and private residences, and the adornments of the grounds about them, all of which had made it celebrated, remain to be described.
In the center of the Administration Square the massive Administration Building, six hundred feet in length and the same in breadth, rose to a height of two hundred and fifty feet, while its great dome towered above it one hundred and fifty feet higher. It was constructed of pure white marble, with pillars of polished granite, and the while building was adorned with carving and statuary in the simplest and yet most exquisite taste, and was grand in general effect, and beautiful in detail, beyond description.
The buildings facing the Administration Square on the opposite sides of the boulevards were also lofty and imposing, each with its grounds occupying an entire block, but all so planned and arranged as to form with the Administration Building a homogeneous and most attractive center piece of architectural beauty. They were constructed of gray granite, their adornments being of white marble. The two on the north were occupied by the municipal government, those on the east and west by great universities and academies, and those on the south by a theater, and an opera house, each of immense size.
The tiers of blocks immediately outside those on which these structures stood were occupied by other public buildings, such as hotels, auditoriums and schools, universities and theaters of smaller size, and then succeeded the residence portions of the city.
Where the diagonal boulevards cut through the tier of large or double blocks surrounding the Administration Square, eight triangular parks were formed, being extensions of that tier, which were nearly eight hundred feet long on the sides facing the boulevards and six hundred on those facing the streets.
These were given up wholly to adornment, being covered with grass and low shrubbery, with a few tall trees near the acute angles. About three hundred feet from these angles, in each of the parks, a singular structure, extended parallel with the boulevard. In shape this resembled a great vase, rising from an immense foot, with a gradual and graceful sweep first inward and then outward until at its largest dimensions it was fully two hundred feet long by fifty feet wide, and at the height of forty feet its curved and fluted edges overhung its sides at least fifteen feet and its ends fully twenty-five feet. it was composed apparently of some metal of the purest white, and from the summit of its arched upper surface down to its very edge it was covered with the densest luxuriance of small trees, fronds of palms, flowers of all kinds and hues, and moss, and creeping and trailing plants and vines, of beauty and variety indescribably, which lent color and shed fragrance all around.
These vases gave wonderful attractiveness to this portion of the city, and being situated near the entrance to the great central Administration Square, formed a fit prelude to the grander beauty of its grounds and buildings.
They were used also as receptacles of water for irrigation, and their tops being arched over and covered with earth, the vegetation grew luxuriantly on them.
The buildings of the cantonments, grouped around the blocks, reserved for that purpose on the cardinal boulevards, comprised houses of worship, public schools, halls for public assemblies, places of amusement, hotels and eating-houses, great stores, electric plants, and such other buildings as were necessary for the wants of the citizens.
These structures were not composed of as costly materials, nor were they so great and lofty as the buildings around the Administration Square, but were more in keeping with the quiet repose of the residence quarters of which they formed the center. they were, however, such as would have graced and adorned any European city. All the streets and boulevards were paved with asphalt and all except the Administration Boulevard were beautifully parked, and shaded by trees.
Stone sidewalks were laid throughout the city, varying in width from six feet in the residence districts, to twenty feet on the Administration Boulevard.
Great conduits, in which a man could easily walk upright, were constructed beneath the boulevards, through which the main drains, pipes and sewers extended; on the other streets these were placed under the sidewalks.
All irrigation was performed by means of pipes laid beneath the surface of the ground.
In the residence portions of the city the dwellings were constructed mainly of brick of divers colors, white, ochre and red being prominent, and were generally trimmed with stone.
The lack of ostentatious display among them was a noticeable feature. There were no poor ones; there were no costly ones. There were no unsightly houses, and no palatial abodes; all were comfortable, refined and picturesque in appearance. Each dwelling was set back from the street a distance of not less than thirty feet, and the lot on which it stood was at least forty feet wide; this frontage being devoted to greensward, trees, shrubs, paths and flowers, and there were no division fences.
Harmony in color, architecture and design was wonderfully maintained in the character of all the buildings; no edifice being constructed until its situation and detailed plans were considered and approved by a commission skilled in such work and acquainted with the general scheme for the extension and building up of the city.
Fitness, variety and taste were displayed not in any one particular, or locality, but everywhere; the evident intention being to make no spot in the residence portion of the city conspicuous by unusual expenditure, but the whole a perfect picture.
In all public buildings and improvements the most magnificent erections, the utmost permanence, the costliest materials, often the most elaborate adornments, were employed; in the residence portion adaptibility[sic], beauty, and symmetry of a quieter order reigned supreme.
I thought the city very beautiful, surpassing even the most enthusiastic descriptions given me of it.
Its people seemed contended and happy. I saw no drunkenness, observed no rudeness, heard no bad language among them, and looked upon fewer careworn faces than in any place I had ever visited.
During the day the middle-aged of both sexes monopolized the streets, but in the evening the younger people seemed to possess them. The broad sidewalks and all the parks were full of them; the spacious boulevards were like beehives with the hum of their young voices, and they crowded the theaters, the opera, the libraries, and the lyceums
Selected, scanned, edited, provided with headnotes, and formatted as a web document by John W. Reps, Professor Emeritus, Department of City and Regional Planning, West Sibley Hall, Cornell University, Ithaca, New York 14853, USA. Tel: (607) 255-5391, Fax: (607) 255-6681, E-mail: email@example.com To Top of Page To Homepage