Winnipeg Cab History / 31: Mud (1)
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Winnipeg's muddy Main Street, looking south.


1874. [Main Street looking] South from approximately Market [Avenue].Archives Manitoba, Winnipeg Views--1874 3 (Negative N143).

Winnipeg Cab History / 31

Mud (1)

This view of Main Street shows the conditions that prevailed through the early 1880s. Half of the street's width is essentially a shallow ditch that became a sea of mud in wet weather. The only reliably passable traffic lane was a narrow track running along the top of a graded dike.

Ashdown's crossing was one of the narrow plank bridges that allowed pedestrians to cross the street. Crossings and board sidewalks provided some refuge from the notorious Manitoba "gumbo" but they were icy in winter and smeared with greasy mud when it rained.

Cabs and omnibuses offered a safer refuge:

The bus will leave Mrs. Mercer's, 466 Main street, at seven o'clock this evening, sharp, for the ladies' college, so that those desiring to see the tableaux vivants there will have an opportunity of doing so without wading through the mud. (Winnipeg Times, April 14, 1882).

But even cabs and omnibuses could be defeated by the mud. After three weeks of rain in October, 1883, Thomas Seaborne parked his cabs in the stable. "I am losing about $50 a day at present in wages and horse feed," he complained. "It is impossible to put a hack on the road, as the inevitable result would be a breakdown before going five hundred yards."


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