Publication: The Muncie Daily News
Muncie, IN, United States
One of the Commercial Poisons.
A LITTLE MAKES TRADE ACTIVE
TOO MUCH PARALYSIS AND
OVERCOMES A TOWN.
FINDLAY, O., RUINED BY THE
GREED AND ENERGY OF
THE QUALITY OF MUNCIE'S IMPROVEMENTS
— SCENTS OF SNAKE DWELLING
HOUSES TO BE BUILT.
Its Drivers Uses and Many Abuses
There is no doubt but that Muncie just now is in the infancy of a wonderful period of growth and progress. Even the most conservative are forced to admit that in a short time our population will be doubled and even tripled. One of the . . . [illegible text] . . . that is producing this remarkable growth is the gift of nature — natural gas. Generated by the warming influence of the gods is a . . . [illegible text] . . . agency, an invention of man — speculation. The former without the aid of the latter would have made our own grow and increase in size, but the increase would have been too slow to please this progressive age. The latter, speculation, is a tonic and yet a poison. Judiciously administered it will do more for the town in a few months than gas could do by itself in as many years. But just as sure as we get too much of a dose it will injure our town as much as though the natural gas wells would stop flowing.
A Cleveland newspaper man went to Findlay and dispatched his paper as follows:
"Veterans in the affairs of the boom here remark a falling off in the number of visitors to the town, but this fact has only served to intensify the activity of those who have staked their all on the future of the place. The simple fact appears to be that the most speculation has been had in outside property, in distance from two to four miles from the central part of the town. The area covered by syndicates and private ventures is known to be as great as that of New York city, and, while every one concedes that there must be a considerable town here if gas holds out, no one has the temerity to predict that all the territory under speculation can be occupied, even under the most favorable circumstances, within the period of fifteen years or more. Hence some one will 'get left,' but whether now is the time to let go is the question that is . . . [illegible text] . . . uppermost in all minds, though will outwardly protest that the boom is yet only in its infancy. Two things plague the speculators: The first is the vast area in hand here, and the second is the well settled fact that all the high pressure belt from St. Marys to the lake is debatable ground. The question of the permanence of the gas is not allowed to enter into the computation. One thing is noticeable, and that is that few good buildings are going up. Men and women come her, spend a day in town, get confused with the reverberations of the boom, buy a lot or two . . . [illegible text] . . . and if then . . . [illegible text] . . .. But few buy to improve. . . . [illegible text] . . . vast quantity of gas, the gist of the thing, is patent to the most superficial observer. A cool headed visitor said to me: 'It looks like a speculator's boom, and not one bottomed on material facts.' This seems a fair criticism, but has an explanation . . . [illegible text] . . . fact that the bride of . . . [illegible text] . . . twenty-five years from now, have been discounted already. Though the most flattering inducements have been and are offered to manufacturers to bring their works here, such as free sites, free gas for five years, land bonuses in the shape of local contributions, there has been no provision made for the most important matter connected with a factory — the working man and his family. Houses for them there are few, and few in prospect, and the prices asked for land suitable for homes are so high as to be absolutely discouraging. But money has been poured into real estate in unprecedented amounts. According to a local newspaper the transfers of Wednesday amounted to over $378,320, and those of the past week to over . . . [illegible text] . . .. Almost the entire amount of the transaction were between speculators, and on one knows this fact better than the speculators themselves. Hence there is a tact understanding that heroic treatment must be resorted to to keep the boom afloat. Confidence is supreme and . . . [illegible text] . . . but something more than speculation is needed to make a town. This the Board of Trade . . . [illegible text] . . . recognizes, and at its last meeting the leaders of the syndicates met the citizens and took important action. A purpose of $1900 per month for three months was raised to advertise the town. A representative of the Cleveland Trade Review was present and said that if assisted, that paper would publish an excellent may of the town, give its many advantages in detail, and find its way into the hands of 25,000 readers. A proposition to raise $15,000, to be mainly used in newspaper advertising, was favorably considered and given an encouraging start. At this meeting it was reported that 35 manufacturing establishments, large and small, now exist in the place. The belt line railroad, so much talked of and by some asserted as assured, was spoken of as still under consideration."
"As the papers have been full of the prices paid for land here, I will only cite a few cases in support of what has been thus given. Just west of he Joy house on Main Street, and probably as good a location as there is in town, is the property known as the 'Judge Corey place.' It is 100x200 and 'before gas' could hardly have been sold at all, and certainly, according to opinions of candid men here, if sold would not have realized to exceed $3500. Judge Swing, of Cincinnati, bought it for $25,000, has been offered $50,000 and asks $60,000."
"After careful survey and inquiry, I am safe in saying that there is not in this entire township a lot 50x200 that can be bought for less than $250. The clash of booms in this belt is terrific. When boom meets boom, hold your ears! Findlay, Fostoria, and Bowling Green are having a triangular serenade that reminds one of the three cornered duel in Capt. Maryatt's 'Midshipman Easy.' "
It is gratifying to know that Muncie is not suffering from an unhealthy growth, and there are many reasons for thinking that it will not. In the first place