History Nebraska Blog

Flashback Friday: Weird Laws-Busted for Ugliness

 

The Lincoln Police Department has a history page on its website (including a lot of material they found at our K Street Government Records Facility). The site has photos and information arranged by decade from 1870 to 1970. For instance, here are a few the local laws on the books in 1889:

 Speed limit – “No person shall ride or drive any horse or other animal in the City of Lincoln with greater speed than at the rate of 6 miles an hour, under the penalty of a fine not more than $20.” Sunday laws - In addition to banning public performances and most general business, Lincoln ordinances specifically banned activities such as “*Dancing *Foot Races *Fast Driving of Horses *Playing Ball *Ten Pins *Wrestling *Discharging Firearms *Beating Drums *Fishing *Boxing *Playing Loud Instruments (except at funerals).”

And strangest of all…

Ugly in Public - “Any person who is diseased, maimed, mutilated, or in any way deformed, so as to be an unsightly or disgusting object, or an improper person to be allowed in or on the streets, highways, thoroughfares or public places in this city, shall not therein or thereon expose himself or herself to public view, under the penalty of a fine of $1 for each offense. Upon conviction of any person for violation of this section, if it shall seem proper and just, the fine provided for may be suspended, and such person detained at the police station where he shall be well cared for until he can be sent to the county poor farm.”

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