Candy Professor

Where the Streets are Paved with Sugar

You may be aware that we have a serious infrastructure problem in this country. We’ve got collapsing bridges, rusting water mains, and exploding man holes. Worst of all if you just bought a new car, we’ve got potholes. Big ones. Here in New York City, you’ve got to watch your small pets and children, lest they tumble in never to be seen.

As in all difficulties, we turn to candy when the chips are down. Here’s one idea. It’s not new, but I think it might work.

It was 1909, in Newton, Massachusetts. That’s just outside Boston, so you know there’s a lot of brain power to draw on. The roads were in bad shape, and coal tar was getting expensive. The city elders put their heads together. What else could they use to pave the streets of Newton? Maybe they had some sticky taffy at that meeting, and maybe an alderman looked at the taffy, and looked at the coal tar, and a lighbulb went off. Why not use the stickyness of sugar instead of the stickyness of coal tar to hold the road together?

So the took some of the waste syrup from the sugar refineries, and they mixed it up with pulverized stone, and they paved a road with it. And some deemed it a success, cheaper and better than coal tar!

Of course, it’s pretty cold up there in Massachusetts for part of the year. Now when it warmed up, that’s when things might get interesting.

Possibly we may eventually witness, when hot weather again comes around, the hopeless struggles of automobile parties firmly glued to this molasses highway, like unwary flies upon sheets of “catch ‘em alive” paper. This will be diverting to the outsiders.

Not to mention the mothers, who will have to start saying, “Jonny, take that road out of your mouth right now! It’s going to spoil your dinner!”

Source: “A Molasses Road,” Confectioners Journal, Jan. 1909, p. 71.