50 years ago: Road complaints reveal historical tidbits

NEW Bodden-50-years-logo-final-595x420In the Aug. 31, 1966 edition of the Caymanian Weekly, a precursor of the Cayman Compass, Bodden Town correspondent Haig Bodden wrote:

“In the early part of this year a feeble attempt was made to repair the road which links Newlands with Savannah and the rest of the island.

“Although some free labour has been contributed towards this project, a lot remains to be done before this road is put into shape again. It is true that Newlands being part of Bodden Town politically can never hope to receive any fringe benefits …

“If ever any place suffers from neglect it is Newlands. Always remote it is now threatened with annihilation due to the rapid and unchecked deterioration of its only link with the outside world. As far back as 1900 there was a trail which led through Newlands to the sea on the north coast of the island. Today one can still see the grooves cut by the iron wagon wheels of old man Newlands who was one of the earliest settlers of this area, and whose name the place now bears.

“Mr. Newlands made countless trips over this trail carrying materials for the repair of the sailing ships which were often pulled ashore there. The ‘hauling down’ of these vessels to use the terminology of the old mariners – was a regular event in the history of the early days. With the disappearance of the sailing ships, the natural dry-dock as it really was, has become obsolete. But it is indeed a pity that the old trail has never been opened up as Newlands remains one of the most picturesque sights on the north side. It is certainly a tourist attraction if developed.

“The shoemaker’s wife always goes bare and that is exactly what has happened in this case. For countless years Newlands has been the source of supply of a very high quality marl used in the construction of roads throughout the island. It does seem a little ungrateful to have let its road become almost impassable just for the lack of machinery to spread the raw materials which are so abundant.

“The only hope of survival that can be held out to Bodden Towners (Newlanders included) is to keep their phones buzzing with complaints …

“Mr. James A. Miller, a former MLA for this district, will be leaving tomorrow for Tampa, Florida. The object of his trip is to continue his study of the latest techniques of pest extermination and wood preserving. Mr. Miller, an engineer and mechanic of wide experience, sees the need for educating and helping the public in their war against termites.

“As mentioned in last week’s column, Mr. Ornan Whittaker, a pioneer in the novel restaurant-on-wheels trade, has brought in another unit. The van has just been painted and is named Whittaker’s Lunch Wagon.

“Ornan, sensing the need of the daily commuters to George Town, has put his whole heart into this enterprise. The absence of well balanced snacks, especially for schoolchildren, will soon be corrected. Parents who send three or four children to George Town every school day cannot afford the meals served at the restaurants. Now it will be possible for the children to obtain hot soups and fresh milk on the school premises. As the new school, about to be opened, is located away from the eating places in town it is necessary that the kitchen be taken to the children.

“This van will be stationed close to the new school and the Truth for Youth School. Another van, which is in Miami awaiting shipment to Grand Cayman, will be stationed at the Secondary Modern School during the lunch hour.”