Noise Pollution

The noise level that accompanies urban life has been high for decades. The Mid-West Hotel Reporter, a publication for hotelkeepers, on August 2, 1919, discussed Omaha’s noise problem and its effect on hotel guests:

“Several times the hotel men of Omaha have made an effort to suppress useless noises on the streets of Omaha, particularly in the early morning hours. It is not presumed that Omaha is more afflicted in this respect than any other city of its size and larger, but it is a matter that should receive the attention of hotel operators in all cities.

“Messrs. Gregory of the [Hotel] Fontenelle, McGill of the Omaha Athletic club and Rome Miller of the [Hotel] Rome, have recently renewed the fight. Because they have insisted that there was no necessity for newsboys crying their wares as early as 5 a. m. they have been made the object of ridicule by the World-Herald.

“But this is the fate of all reformers and there is no reason to back down in the fight. Newsboys, in the early morning, automobiles and cycles at night, the squaking [sic] of horns and screeching of whistles should be stopped or at least modified.”

On September 6, the periodical informed its readers that the attack on noise was continuing “with good prospects of having an ordinance passed. While the newspapers have been inclined to poke fun at the movement it is worth noting that in a recent issue of the Omaha World-Herald is this item from the sporting columns, edited by Sandy Griswold:

“‘The shrill screaming newsboy has become an intolerable nuisance and should be suppressed, that is his absolutely useless and sleep destroying yelling on prominent residential and business corners, often from 5 o’clock in the morning till midnight. At Twenty-fourth and Farnam, a perfect bedlam rages all thru these hours and the residents of that vicinity are entitled to protection at the hands of the city council without further delay.'” Griswold concluded, “‘This may not be sport, neither is it sport to be deprived of over half of your normal night’s rest, and sleep by this terrific bedlam.'”

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