could be Buffalo's crossing the platte

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1923 Kearney City Ordinances


(First, some background)


1922 Kearney City Directory
Election 1stTue of April in odd years
City council meets on the 1st & 3rd Monday
Commission form of government adopted 7-11-1916, organized April, 1917


Clerk/Treasurer (one person was allowed to hold both positions)
Police Magistrate [also referred to as the police judge]
Water Commissioner [Great Gildersleeve on Fibber McGee & Molly] /Building & Sewer Inspector
City Engineer
City Attorney
Chief of Police
City Physician
Street Commissioner
City Librarian


Dominican Sisters home was on 3rd floor of St. James School
TB Hospital
St. Luke’s Hospital – 1802 1st Ave

1924 Kearney City Directory
Estimated population 12,585


Dominican Sisters Home – 3rd floor St. James School
Good Samaritan Hospital
TB Hospital
St. Luke’s Hospital
Mother Hull Home, Inc.
Kearney General Hospital – 103 W 22nd (Dr. Johnson’s)

1923 City Ordinances
(random entries)

General Elections to be on the 1st Tue of April annually
Elective positions at large
        Clerk Treasurer (one person could be both)
        Water Commissioner
Elective positions by Ward
        2 City Councilmen from each–1 elected each year for 2-year term to stagger terms
Board of Education
        2 members elected each year to serve 3-year terms = 6 members on board
Election judges & clerks paid $3

City government
Council met on 1st Tue after election to organize and select a Council President who would act for the Mayor if he was absent.

Met on 1st & 3rd Monday

Mayor, with Council approval, made appointments:

City Engineer
City Attorney
Street Commissioner
Chief of Police
City Physician
Truck Driver
Custodian of City Hall
Police Chief
As many police officers as Mayor & Council think are needed
        Mayor could call up as many men ages 18-50 as needed to maintain peace
        Anyone arrested appeared immediately before the Police Judge unless it was night, then the person spent the night in jail. Police Judge was paid $600/year

City Physician

Member of the Board of Health and performed duties in connection with that board. Also
        (1) if someone was injured where there might be liability by the city, he was to investigate the extent of the injury and interview any persons who might have personal knowledge of the matter.
        (2) For purposes of checking health conditions of property and its occupants, he could enter “at all seasonable hours

Board of Health

5 members - Mayor, Council President, City Physician, Chief of Police, 1 mayor appointment
        All doctors had to report contagious diseases & identify the family.
        If the Mayor learned of a case of cholera, smallpox, diptheria or other disease of like virulence and danger, he was to call a meeting of the Board of Health.

        If they found that it was liable to spread, they could set up a pest house in an isolated spot either inside or outside city limits where persons could be cared for.
        If it looked like an isolated case they could quarantine the house.
        In either case only the doctor and those caring for the sick could enter and all others had to stay at least 200 feet away.
        Anyone exposed to the disease could be quarantined also.

        Responsible for identifying and causing to clean up any accumulations of filth in the city, especially if there was danger of contaminating a well or cistern.
        Could order the cleaning of any vault, cesspool, privy, wall, excavation cellar or other structure emitting a noxious odors or gases. If the city had to do it, the owner would be charged.

Illegal to sell or keep for sale decayed, decomposed or partly decomposed fruits and vegetables. Mayor could appoint someone or have a member of the police force inspect booths, stores and shops.

Fire Hazards
        Open burning – not allowed if dangerous to the property of others.
        No wood buildings in downtown area – basically from 26th to the railroad, 1st to A
        No lumber yards in that district unless in a brick building
        If a wood building within the district was damaged to 20% of its value it was to be removed.
        Fire chief, his foreman, mayor, policeman, could call on licensed drayman or any citizen with team to help pull fire equipment to or from a fire. Refusal – fine $10-$100
        Duty of fire chief to annually visit and inspect every house and all buildings in the city where fire is used. Report any problems to the Mayor. If the owner does not make corrections, city will and charge owner. And can be fined $10-$100
        Looters to be fined $10-$100 and stay in jail until the fine is paid.

City Cemetery
Cemetery Board – 6 members appointed by the mayor with Council approval
        Residents of the city “and may be male or female”
        Serve 3-year terms “serve without pay and shall have the entire management and control of the cemetery”

Tax levy for general upkeep

Board responsible for keeping record of lot sales

“Potters Field” to be renamed “North Field”

Owners of lots bought without perpetual care were billed $4/year for care of lot
        Lots in old area cost $40 without/$75 with perpetual care
        Anyone owning lots in old part could pay $65 and get perpetual care

All lots in new part $100 and have perpetual care

Peace & Order
Unlawful to engage in loud, boisterous, hallowing, or make loud or unusual noise or quarrel, curse, swear or user obscene or indecent language

“Section 5. It shall be unlawful for any person or persons within the corporate limits of the City of Kearney to wantonly or prankishly daub or mark the windows of others with soap or other substance, or remove signs, overturn out buildings, ground swings, or in any manner disturb or molest any property of another at any time, whether it be Halloween or other festal time, or occasion. It is hereby made the special duty of the Mayor to rigidly enforce the provisions of this section of this ordinance.”


            No posts on Central Ave – sign, hitching, telephone, telegraph, or other obstructions
            No itinerant sales on Central from 20th to 24th Street
            No on can orate, harangue, lecture, preach, causing a crowd that would interrupt traffic on the sidewalk or street
            Snow removed within an hour after it stops snowing or b 9 a.m.  Can’t throw it in street
            No ashes, leaves, straw, hay, manure, brush, grass, slops, garbage, refuse or rubbish left in the street
            Street Commissioner to arrange for weekly inspection of streets & alleys
            Can’t dump wash water or dish water out in street
            All sidewalks from now on cement.  Included repaired as well as new.
Vehicles & Street Traffic –    
 Keep to the right, pass on the left
Don’t back up to the curb unless loading or unloading
Speed limit in alleys and congested areas 10 mph, in noncongested areas 15
            Does not apply to fire department equipment
Turning corners 6 mph
Parking spaces in center of Central from 18th-25th Street,  on A & 1st 20-24th Street
Minimum charge $1.25/mo, then 10 cents/100 cubic feet. 
10 cents discount to all paying at office of Water Commissioner within 10 days of due date
Slaughter Houses

(none listed in 1922 City Directory but there 5 meat markets on Central & 4 in 1924)
        Had to be along the north channel of the Platte
        Had to be kept clean so there was no smell
        Wash the blood with water into the “said channel”
        Bury bones, heads, hides, etc. with quick lime
        Inspection at least once a week by the Sewer Inspector

        Can’t run at large or pasture them in the street, cemetery, park or public place
        Pound Master got $1 for each animal.  Residents could impound animals also.
        Pound Master could sell an animal if not claimed in 5-10 days to pay for the expense of keeping it.  Left over money went to the city
        Dogs – Must have a license tag - $1 male, $3 female
        Domestic Fowls – Running at large – Can’t except in areas used for agriculture and not in areas marked off in blocks.
Bawdy Houses
         “unlawful for any person or persons to erect, establish, conduct, keep, maintain, own, use, or lease any building, room, tent, or other structure” within city limits for “purpose of lewdness, assignation or prostitution”
        Unlawful to run such a house….
        Unlawful for anyone to live in a bawdy house or house of prostitution.
        Unlawful to permit a prostitute or lewd woman to visit his room or lodging place
        Unlawful “for any woman to solicit, invite or permit any man to visit her room or lodging place in the night time for the purpose of sexual intercourse.” [what about daytime?] 
        Fined $10-$100 and stay in jail until the fine is paid
        Policemen had to report violations to Police Judge or be fined $25
        All existing business were declared a nuisance and had to close.
        Couldn’t run a business within 3 miles of city limits.
Some Other topics
            Intoxicating liquors – drunkenness  (prohibition was the law at this time)
            Auctioneers, peddlers, hawkers (prob. still on the books but updated, corner sales)
            Firecrackers – fire works (still there but updated also)
            Clairvoyants – Fortune Telling
            Vagrants – Tramps (used to be a big problem – riding the rails)
            Keeping lots and lands free from weeds (definitely still there)
            Fire escapes
            Merchandising after April 1st with Stock not Listed for Taxation
            Using water in times of fire --- don’t - to keep pressure up
            City prisoners – Labor on streets
            #44 Town Herd
            Street sprinkling (not so many streets paved in 1923)


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Revised: 05/03/2018