Thursday, July 16, 2009

Xenia: Antebellum Expansions

As we've seen in the previous post, Xenia was platted as an 24 square block rectangle, with two exceptionally broad cross-streets, one laid out across an old pioneer road or trail, the Bullskin Road. The platters extended outlots east to, it seems, the line of the original Virginia survey, and south to a fork of Shawnee Creek.

Logically one would expect the town to extend east along the outlots, and south to Shawnee Creek (as a possible mill site). This did happen to some extent, and its notable the platting of town lots into outlots didn't cross the valley and watercourse that made a diagonal traverse of the outlots.

What's more noticeable, however, is the platting activity along Shawnee Creek. We don't have maps showing the orginal surveys in this area, or a chronology, but these streets appear in an 1855 map of Xenia, part of Greene County Atlas.

The 1840s and 1850s was the era of railroad construction, and Xenia played early in this. The lines entering Xenia around 1855 are shown here, and one can see how the platting is around the railroads and their junction, which happened to be along Shawnee Creek. One can speculate that the platting action was driven by anticipation of growth due to developing railroad junction. Growth that never came to the extent expected.

The platting form was probably determined by the various roads and turnpikes radiating from Xenia, since there wasn't a survey grid to work off of.

In this Xenia resembled Kentucky towns, where road alignmnets were not governed by survey grids, but ran cross country, radiating from county seat towns. Lexington is a good example of this, with the town grid determined by topography and water courses, but with a very pronounced radial pattern for the turnpikes extending from the grid into the surrounding countryside.

A bit more on railroading in Xenia in a future post.

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