...The street commissioner and
others who repair the sidewalks should take particular pains to
turn all the planks and boards having spikes and nails in them
bottom side up on the sidewalks, [since] it is such fun to see
people with their boots and shoes step on those nails, and it
sometimes gives the doctors a nice job. The real pleasure [that]
is to be experienced running a rusty nail into the side of ones
foot is only known to those who have tried it.
Plank sidewalks kept people out of the mud,
but created a different set of problems. This editorial excerpt
from the Faribault Democrat, April 17, 1874, details some
Photo above by Henry Altschwager, courtesy
of the Minnesota Historical Society.