Busted for Ugliness by the Lincoln P.D.

The Lincoln Police Department has added history pages to its website (including a lot of material they found at our 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.”

Become a Member!

Our members make history happen.

Join Now

You May Also Enjoy

Buffalo Bill’s Big House

Buffalo Bill’s Big House

Marker Monday: The Seedling Mile

Marker Monday: The Seedling Mile

Vacationing on a Budget in 1909

Vacationing on a Budget in 1909

About History Nebraska
History Nebraska was founded in 1878 as the Nebraska State Historical Society by citizens who recognized Nebraska was going through great changes and they sought to record the stories of both indigenous and immigrant peoples. It was designated a state institution and began receiving funds from the legislature in 1883. Legislation in 1994 changed History Nebraska from a state institution to a state agency. The division is headed by Interim Director and CEO Jill Dolberg. They are assisted by an administrative staff responsible for financial and personnel functions, museum store services, security, and facilities maintenance for History Nebraska.
Explore Nebraska
Discover the real places and people of our past at these History Nebraska sites.

Upcoming Events

View our new and upcoming events to see how you can get involved.

Become a Member

The work we do to discover, preserve, and share Nebraska's history wouldn't be possible without the support of History Nebraska members.

History Nebraska Education

Learn more about the educational programs provided at our museums, sites, and online.

History Nebraska Programs

Learn more about the programs associated with History Nebraska.

Latest Hall of Fame Inductee

The Nebraska Hall of Fame was established in 1961 to officially recognize prominent Nebraskans.

Listen to our Podcast

Listen to the articles and authors published in the Nebraska History Magazine with our new Nebraska History Podcast!

Nebraska Collections

History Nebraska's mission is to collect, preserve, and open our shared history to all Nebraskans.

Our YouTube Video Collection

Get a closer look at Nebraska's history through your own eyes, with our extensive video collections.

Additional Research Resources

History Nebraska Research and Reference Services help connect you to the material we collect and preserve.

Support History Nebraska
Make a cash donation to help us acquire, preserve, and interpret Nebraska’s history. Gifts to History Nebraska help leave a legacy and may help your taxes, too! Support the work of History Nebraska by donating to the History Nebraska Foundation today.

Volunteers are the heroes of History Nebraska. So much history, so little time! Your work helps us share access to Nebraska’s stories at our museums and sites, the reference room, and online.