You shouldn’t judge a book by its cover.
This book from our Local and Family History stacks, A Revision of the Ordinances and Municipal Laws of the City of Paducah, Kentucky (1904), may have a boring-looking cover and a boring-sounding title, but inside you’ll find a fascinating glimpse into how our city was run more than a century ago. And among all the rules and regulations, you’ll find a few curious laws…some outdated, some funny, and some just bizarre.
Ten of these laws are listed below, copied word for word from the original text, along with the fine for infractions.
- KITE FLYING
The flying of kites in the streets of Paducah is hereby prohibited and any person guilty thereof shall be fined 50 cents.
- SELLING TAMALES WITHOUT A LICENSE
For persons selling hot tamalas (sic) five dollars ($5.00) per annum. Fine for no license: $10-$50 per day.
- CLEANING FISH IN THE MARKET HOUSE
It shall be unlawful for any person to clean, gut or skin fish on any market bench or elsewhere in said market. Fine $10-$25.
- BUTTER BY THE OUNCE
All butter sold at the market house shall be sold by the pound, and in no other manner. Fine: $5 for each offense.
- WOMEN IN PUBS
That it shall be unlawful for any female to enter or in any manner to frequent any saloon within limits of the City of Paducah. Fine: $5-$20.
- WANDERING GOATS
It shall be unlawful, for the owner of any goat to suffer the same to go or run at large upon any of the streets, alleys or unclosed lots or ground in the City of Paducah. Fine: $5-$20.
- RIVERSIDE NUDITY
That it shall be unlawful for any person in the daytime to take off his clothes and expose his person and go in the river bathing or swimming in front of the city of Paducah. Fine: $5 for each offense.
- PAIRS OF PROSTITUTES
It shall be unlawful for any two or more common prostitutes to walk or be in company together on any street, sidewalk, alley or other public thoroughfare in the city of Paducah, during the night-time. Fine: $5-$50 for each offense.
- DIRTY UDDERS
Every person keeping cows for the production of milk for sale shall cause them to be kept clean and wholesome at all times and shall cause the teats, and, if necessary, the udder, to be carefully cleaned by brushing, washing or wiping before milking. Fine: $20-$100.
10. TOSSING POWDERS
It shall be unlawful for any person to throw or scatter what is commonly called Talcum Powder, flour, or similar product. Fine: $5-$10.