Life and Fines of the Nineteen Forties

So right here’s one thing fairly nerdy I simply did:

I learn our metropolis’s ordinance codes from the Nineteen Forties cowl to cowl – all 200+ pages 😂

Don’t be jealous!!

Picked it as much as see how totally different life and instances had been again within the day, however as soon as I bought going I couldn’t put it down… Do you know that it was as soon as unlawful in our metropolis to bounce from 2am-8am in the course of the week? Otherwise you weren’t allowed to work on Sundays?! Otherwise you’d get fined for spitting on the sidewalk or putting carcasses of useless animals on the street?! I imply – COME ON! If you happen to can’t place a superb carcass right here and there, the place’s the enjoyment in residing???!

I’m actually a bit unhappy it’s throughout… Between the antiquated passages and that stunning “previous guide” odor, I used to be entertained fairly nicely for a scorching minute. Although I did discover on the market’s a fair *earlier* model of the code from the late 1800s, so I could need to focus my power on monitoring that right down to proceed the celebration… I guess instances had been even wilder again then! 😉

For now although, listed here are a few of the extra attention-grabbing snippets from the Nineteen Forties… Together with what occurs in the event you dare mess with the legislation 😉

We’ll begin off with one thing you might or is probably not acquainted with currently – quarantining! Adopted by venereal illnesses, which hopefully you’re not as acquainted with however if you’re, not less than you’re not handled as a pariah anymore!

Let’s get to the enjoyable…

For reference, $1.00 in 1940 is price about $21.16 in as we speak’s {dollars}, and $100 is price round $2,116.26.


Quarantine of Contagious and Infectious Illnesses — “Instantly upon receipt of the data that any case of smallpox, diphtheria, scarlet fever, scarlatina, measles or different contagious or infectious illness exists within the metropolis, or inside one mile thereof, it shall be the obligation of the well being officer to go to the case and in his discretion set up a strict quarantine or isolation of all or any individuals on the premises, or to take away the case to a detention hospital or camp, and quarantine individuals remaining for such time, as in his discretion, could also be crucial.

He shall report back to the superintendent of police the names of all individuals violating quarantine and the superintendent shall thereupon trigger the arrest and removing to a detention camp of any individual disobeying quarantine orders, and upon the discharge of such individual from the detention camp, he shall be fined by the police justice not lower than $5.00 or greater than $25.00.”

(Think about being arrested or fined for disobeying PUBLIC HEALTH ORDERS?? Covid would have appeared so much in a different way if measures like these had been in play in the course of the first components of the pandemic, hoo-boy… May have had our total nationwide debt paid off from individuals refusing to put on masks alone!)

Bringing Contagion Into the Metropolis — “Any individual or individuals who, with no allow from the well being officer, shall knowingly, deliver into the boundaries of town any individual recognized or suspected to have smallpox, scarlet fever, diphtheria, or every other extreme contagious illnesses, or who shall, with out such allow, knowingly deliver into town the physique of any individual having died of smallpox, scarlet fever, diphtheria, or any extreme contagious illness, shall be fined not lower than $25.00 nor greater than $450.00.”

(That’s $500-$9,500 in as we speak’s {dollars}! Hefty!)

Venereal Illnesses — “Syphilis, gonorrhea and chancroid are hereby designated as venereal illnesses, and are hereby acknowledged and declared to be contagious, communicable, infectious and harmful to the general public well being. The town well being officer is hereby given the facility, for the aim of defending the general public well being, to quarantine and isolate all circumstances of venereal illnesses prescribed in part 1 of this chapter, when in his opinion they’re a menace to the general public well being and of the residents of town.”


Report of Attending Physicians — “All physicians in attendance at any hospital or establishment, or who’re prescribing for or attending any personal affected person stricken with any of mentioned venereal illnesses, or any doctor having data that any individual is affected by any of mentioned illnesses, shall inside three days after acquiring such data, report all such circumstances, giving title, tackle and occupation of the individual to town well being officer.”

(Additionally utilized to druggists, hospitals, sanitariums and different establishments wherein sufferers had been being handled for mentioned venereal illnesses…)

“Any individual, agency or company violating any of the provisions of this chapter shall, upon conviction, be fined in a sum to not exceed $300 or imprisoned not exceeding 90 days, or each fined and imprisoned on the discretion of the court docket.”

Spitting on Sidewalks, on Avenue Crossings or Public Locations — “No individual shall expectorate on any sidewalk or road crossing or in any church or public constructing or on the steps or doorways thereof, or the steps or doorways of any retailer or workplace constructing, or on the ground or pavement of any railroad station, or public corridor, or different public locations. For any violation of this part the offender shall be fined not lower than $1.00 or greater than $5.00 for every offense.”

(Expectorate – such a terrific SAT phrase!)

Carcasses of Lifeless Animals and Different Offensive Issues — “If any individual shall place, or trigger to be positioned, in or on any road, alley, sidewalk, lot or elsewhere inside the metropolis limits, the carcasses of any animal or every other factor or matter offensive to the general public or liable to change into a nuisance, he shall be fined not lower than $5.00.”

Cease and Waste Cocks — Not a really attention-grabbing part within the least, I simply laughed like a teenage boy once I noticed “cocks” in there 😂😂 Although I did need to Google what the heck it was, and came upon its mainly a type of valve used to regulate the stream of a liquid or gasoline. Right here’s an instance of 1:

stop and waste cock

Driving Over a Hearth Hose –“It shall be illegal to drive any car over any fireplace hose or chemical hose that could be strung or laid by the hearth division of town, inside the police jurisdiction of town. Anybody violating this part shall be fined not lower than $5.00 nor greater than $10.00 for every offense.”

Parking Meters — “When any car shall be parked in any parking meter zone the proprietor or operator of mentioned car shall upon getting into the parking area, instantly deposit a one cent coin or a 5 cent coin of america within the parking meter adjoining to such zone and the mentioned zone might then be utilized by such car for the time period as proven by the parking meter.”

Tremendous for overstaying: $1.00 if paid inside 48 hours, $2.00-$50.00 if paid after 48 hours.

(Love that they particularly say “United States” coin right here too, lol… I assume that they had issues with individuals attempting to hack it with pesos or different international specimens?! One cent bought you 12 minutes of parking, btw, and 5 cents bought you 60.)

Driving Beneath Affect of Intoxicants or Medicine — “It shall be illegal for any individual to drive or function any car or different car, automobile, truck, engine, or prepare on this metropolis, whereas inebriated, brandy, rum, whiskey, gin, wine, beer, lager beer, ale, porter, stout, or every other liquid, beverage or article containing alcohol or whereas beneath the affect of any narcotic drug, or every other self-administered intoxicant or drug, of in any way nature.

Any one that violates any provisions of part one among this chapter shall be responsible of  misdemeanor, punishable by a superb of not lower than 100 {dollars} nor greater than one thousand {dollars}, or imprisonment for not lower than one month, nor greater than six months, both or each within the discretion of the court docket or jury attempting identical, for a primary offense, and the court docket might, in its discretion, droop the sentence in the course of the good habits of the individual convicted.”

Water, Fuel and Sewer — The town charged a flat $6.00 a yr for water hookup, after which extra charges “per tub and water closet and cooled refrigerating machine with one half horsepower” Haha… They didn’t do metering a lot again then, aside from these suspected of making the most of the water provide (although apparently you possibly can manually request to have a meter put wherein town would do in your behalf).

Much like water hookup, gasoline was additionally charged a flat charge monthly relying on the cubic ft of your own home. For the primary 500 cubic ft it prices $0.75, for the following 2,500 – $1.30, and for the following 7,000 – $1.10 (after which continued to go down from there for every extra 1,000 cubic ft). Of curiosity is that additionally they charged for “gasoline operated fridges”?! Can’t say I’ve ever recognized that was a factor!

As for sewer, that service was a flat $2.00 per yr per constructing.

Injuring or Failing to Return Books — “Any one that shall willfully injure any guide belonging to such library, or shall willfully fail to return any guide belonging to such library, shall be fined not lower than one nor greater than twenty-five {dollars}, or shall be dedicated to jail, in default of cost of mentioned superb, for not lower than one, nor greater than twenty-five days.”

(You can have gone to jail for not returning your books!!! They did NOT fiddle again then!! $1-$25 was $21.00- $525.00 in as we speak’s {dollars} too, fairly excessive…)

Process for Erection — (😂😂😂) “In each case wherein the proprietor of an improved lot within the metropolis shall be desirous of getting a brand new fence erected between his mentioned lot and any improved lot adjoining thereto, and the proprietor of the mentioned adjoining improved lot shall not comply with pay his share of erecting such fence, the most important shall, on software of the celebration wishing to have a brand new fence put up, appoint three discreet freeholders of town to view the premises, and beneath their fingers to say whether or not a brand new fence to divide the plenty of such events is critical or not, and the choice of mentioned freeholders, or a majority of them, shall be binding on the events. And the celebration desirous of getting the brand new fence put up might proceed to have it erected, and on the completion thereof, shall recuperate by warrant, from the proprietor of the adjoining lot, one-half of the price of such fence, with the price of such continuing: Offered, that the price of mentioned fence be estimated as a fence shaped of fine posts and rails, with undressed paling, and never exceeding six ft excessive.”

(So mainly, in case your neighbor needed to construct a fence you had been on the hook for paying half of it! Which I suppose kinda is smart since you’d additionally profit from it, however nonetheless…)

Avenue Walkers — “Avenue walkers shall be fined not lower than 5 {dollars} not more than twenty-five {dollars}, or imprisoned in jail not exceeding thirty days, or each within the discretion of the police justice.”

Solicitation for Immoral Functions — “Whoever shall invite or entice any individual or individuals upon any avenue, road, highway, freeway, alley, open area, public sq., or enclosure to accompany, go together with, or comply with her or him to anyplace for immoral functions, or who shall invite or entice any individual from any door, window, porch, or portico of any home or constructing, to enter any home or go together with, accompany, or comply with her or him to anyplace in any way for immoral goal shall be punished by a superb of not lower than ten {dollars} and less than 5 hundred {dollars}, or by imprisonment for no more than one yr, or by each such superb and imprisonment.”

(I want they’d have spelled out what different issues they meant by “immoral functions!” The part solely particularly referred to as out prostitution…)

Adultery and Fornication — “If any individual commit adultery or fornication he shall be punished by a superb of not lower than ten {dollars} nor greater than 5 hundred {dollars}, or by imprisonment for no more than one yr, or by each such superb and imprisonment.”

(There can be fairly the variety of fines and jail time if this had been nonetheless round as we speak!)

Indecent or Insulting Language — “Any individual convicted of the usage of indecent or insulting language to a different individual, or of constructing any indecent, insulting, or immoral proposal to any feminine shall be punished by a superb of not lower than 5 {dollars}, or imprisonment within the metropolis jail not lower than ten days, or by each such superb and imprisonment.”

(Additionally: rap music wouldn’t exist 😎)

Sunday Labor – “If any individual on a Sunday be discovered laboring at any commerce or calling, or make use of his brokers, apprentices or servants in labor or every other enterprise, besides in family, or different work of necessity or charity, or in these companies enumerated within the subsequent following part hereof, or if any individual deliver into or carry about this metropolis on a Sunday, any fowls, chickens, eggs, fruit, greens, meat, or every other factor no matter, on the market or barter, such individual shall pay a superb of not lower than two nor greater than ten {dollars}.”

(Fairly wild – nobody was allowed to work!)

Opening Locations of Enterprise on Sunday — “If any individual, not being a druggist or working a diary, confectionery, inn, restaurant, resort, information company, filling station, storage or restore storage, or ice plant shall preserve his or her retailer, store or workplace open on Sunday, at any time of the day, such individual shall forfeit and pay 5 {dollars} for each offense.”

(Chick-fil-A is the one firm I do know of today that intentionally chooses to be shut down on Sundays… Gotta love the explanation behind it too: to let workers relaxation “and worship” in the event that they select.)

Furnishing Cigarettes or Weapons to Infants Beneath 16 Years of Age — “If any individual promote, barter, give or furnish, or trigger to be bought, bartered, given or furnished to any minor beneath sixteen years of age, cigarettes or tobacco in any kind, or pistols, or dirks, or bowie-knives, mentioned individual shall be fined not lower than 5 {dollars}.”

(Needed to search for what a “dirk” was – “a brief dagger of a sort previously carried by Scottish Highlanders.” Additionally, Dirk Nowitzki’s first title :))

Disturbing Spiritual Conferences – “Any one that shall willfully disturb any meeting of individuals met for the worship of God, whether or not he be in or outdoors of mentioned meeting, shall be fined for each such offense not lower than 5 {dollars} nor greater than twenty-five {dollars}, or confined in jail not lower than 5 nor greater than thirty days, or each within the discretion of the police justice.”

Dancing — “It shall not be lawful for any individual to advertise, help or have interaction in dancing in any public or personal room or corridor within the metropolis between the hours of two A.M. and eight A.M. on weekdays, or between midnight on Saturday to midnight on Sunday. Any individual violating this part shall be deemed responsible of a misdemeanor and shall be punished by a superb of not lower than $25.00 not more than $200.00.”

(It’s Footloose up in right here earlier than Footloose was even a factor!)

Desecration of Flag — “It shall be a misdemeanor for any individual inside the mentioned metropolis to willfully desecrate in any method of the flag of the Commonwealth of Virginia or that of america of America, or for any individual, apart from the proprietor, his brokers, servants, and workers, with out the consent of mentioned proprietor, to take away from buildings mentioned flags in mentioned metropolis or from any road or public place in mentioned metropolis the place mentioned flags could also be positioned, or to mutilate or destroy mentioned flags. Any individual responsible of violating the provisions of this part or any of them shall be fined not lower than $5.00 nor greater than $100.00 or confined in jail not lower than 5 nor greater than thirty days, or could also be each fined and imprisoned.”

Horses To not Be Pushed Over Six Miles an Hour When Connected to Drays and Carts — “No individual shall drive any horse or horses, when hooked up to any dray, cart or wagon, inside the limits of this metropolis, quicker than six miles an hour. Each individual violating this part shall forfeit and pay two {dollars} for each offense.”

Fruit-skins on Sidewalks and Flooring of Public Halls — “It shall be illegal for any individual to throw fruit-skins or peelings on the sidewalks, or flooring of public halls. Any violation of this part shall topic the offender to a superb of not lower than two nor greater than 5 {dollars}.”

(Weirdly I’ve seen individuals do that within the streets in fashionable days… I’m guessing they really feel it’s okay as a result of it’ll naturally disintegrate, however each time I see it I at all times brace for somebody to cartoon-slip and fall on their ass due to it, haha…)


However there you might have it…

Legal guidelines of yore that will help you for when Jeopardy begins again up once more 🙂

TL;DR: Dancing, fornicating, furnishing cigarettes or weapons to infants, laboring on Sunday, inquiring for immoral functions, throwing fruit-skins on the ground, injuring or not returning library books, putting carcasses of useless animals on the street, indecent language, driving over a fireplace hose, expectorating on the sidewalk, and never reporting venereal illnesses can all trigger you hefty fines and/or jail time.

Totally different instances, totally different fines!

j. money signature

PS: for extra enjoyable time touring…

Photograph cred: Unseen Histories

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