Some historical ordinances in the city

By Joan Baxter

Ninety years have gone by since the 1927 Ordinances for Xenia were put into effect. Some still remain on the books and some we might find interesting today.

For instance, the city manager received a salary of $2,500 per annum. He was required to give a bond in the amount of $3,000, and in addition, he was the chief of the fire department (no additional salary). There were five firemen under his direction earning salaries of $135, $120, $115 while the other earned $110. If the city manager felt more firemen were needed in any instance they received $1 for their services for each run they answered.

The mayor received $1,650 per annum, payable monthly. He was also the chief of police and heard cases now heard by a Judge. Five patrolmen were under the chief/mayor. One was paid $135 a month, the others $115. A desk-man received $100. The city solicitor received $1,200 per year while the treasurer earned $300, posting a $10,000 bond.

Traffic regulations prevailed. At that time rules applied to horse-drawn vehicles as well as automobiles. Head lights on automobiles were required to be turned on one-half hour before sunset and remain on if driving through the night until one-half hour before sunrise. Each vehicle was to be equipped with adequate brakes and a proper muffler.

“… No motor shall be operated within the city limits with cut-out-open (the muffler).”

It was illegal for an automobile to pass a street car during the time the street car was loading or unloading passengers. Furthermore, it was illegal to follow a fire truck which was on a run, and also illegal to run over a fire hose laid in the street when it was being used to fight a fire.

Pedestrians had the responsibility of looking each way to see what vehicle might be approaching before crossing the street and they were expected to obey all signs, signals, whistles or directions of police officers.

Speed limits were established for autos. In a congested area, the limit was 15 miles per hour, but in other areas, 25 miles per hour was acceptable. Bicyclists were not to exceed the speed of 8 miles per hour, and were not allowed on sidewalks.

The city restrictions were very definite as far as farm animals were concerned. Sheep, horses, mules, cattle, geese, ducks and chickens were not permitted to run at large upon a street or other public ground. Today that law is often ignores as mamma duck leads her ducklings across Detroit Street to Shawnee Park.

Privies were still in common use. The vault was to be located at least five feet from the line of any street, alley or pubic highway and in such a manner as not to become offensive or annoying or prejudicial to the heath of any other citizen.

Spitting on sidewalks as well as floors of public places was punishable with a fine of $1 for the first offense. An additional offence could range from $1 to $10 plus court costs.

Except in emergency a locomotive passing through downtown was not allowed to blow the whistle.

Interurban travel was popular, requiring another set of regulations. The cars were permitted to stop at street intersections to take on and let off passengers. It was further understood that policemen and firemen would be charged no fees when on duty and in proper uniform. The electric railroads were not to exceed speed of six miles per hour within the main section of the city. The engineer was to sound a gong at every street crossing as a warning signal.

Small pox, typhus, diphtheria and scarlet fever were still highly contagious. If a member of the household contracted one of these diseases, the entire household was confined inside. A sign was posted on the front of the house to indicate the entire household was under quarantine. Even measles and whooping cough required quarantine until the symptoms were completely gone.

In the event that someone passed away as a result of one of these diseases, no public funeral would be held. Burial had to take place within 24 hours and the body was not allowed to rest in any church or other public place prior to the burial.

According to the city directory of 1927, agriculture was one of the most important businesses in the county. Farmers were well known for their pure bred live stock as well as crops grown on the fertile land.

“Xenia’s commercial and industrial foundation is good, as attested to by the fact that businesses suffered but little during the past depression period and that manufacturing plants are well established and busy. The manufactures of rope, twine and cordage, shoes and high duty crank shapers and machinery constitute the most important manufacturing industries.”

The ordinance of 1924 which read “To provide for Daylight Savings during certain months of each year” was rescinded March 3, 1927. On Sunday April 3 Eastern Standard Time was adopted for the city all year.

By Joan Baxter

Joan Baxter is a local resident and weekly historical columnist.

Joan Baxter is a local resident and weekly historical columnist.