Early [Rogers] laws dealt with privies, morals Rogers Daily News [now NWA Democrat Gazette] (1980)
With cities come rules and regulations, and a look at some of the early rules in Rogers shows the kinds of things people thought important enough to regulate, including boys throwing stones, women of ill repute, and the cleaning of privies
It is of interest to note that during the city's first 28 years, some 70 ordinances were passed by the city. That many ordinances are passed in a single years in today's Rogers.
The first ordinance, passed June 12, 1882, prohibited the slaughtering of animals within the city limits. The fine for violation was $25.
Ordinance No. 6, passed five years later, prohibited the "throwing of stones, sticks, balls, or anything liable to cause injury in the public streets."
The language of ordinances back then was not too different from that used in today's ordinances. On Aug. 7, 1891 the City Council passed ordinance No. 18: "Be it ordained by the council of the incorporated town of Rogers, Arkansas:.. it shall be unlawful for any able bodied person to be found within the limits of said incorporated town having no visible or apparent means of subsistence and neglecting to apply themselves to some honest calling or business, or being found habitually loitering around the streets of bawdy houses or tippling houses...."
Another ordinance passed that same day made it unlawful to hitch horses, mules or other animals to shade trees, fences or awning posts.
Long Time Ago - The business district of Rogers as it appeared in 1882. These were the first business buildings in the town. The picture looks south from Walnut Street down First Street.
Ordinance No. 44, passed November, 1896, prohibited the running at large of hogs in the city limits. This problem was either very complicated or considered very important, because it filled four pages compared to the usual one-half page for most ordinances.
A 1904 ordinance set the mayor's salary at $200 per year, and another ordinance that year imposed a $25 fine for discharging firearms or shooting bean flips [slingshots].
Gaming tables, bowling alleys, pool halls and shooting galleries were banned about that same time. In 1908, the council passed Ordinance No. 63, which states that anyone caught spitting on sidewalks or on floors of public buildings would be fines $1 - $10.
An ordinance passed in November, 1908 sets up regulations concerning the cleaning of privies and the removal of their contents.
"Be it ordained that all closets, backhouses or privys within the incorporate limits of the City of Rogers, Ark. shall be placed in a convenient place that same may be in easy reach of the scavenger," the law stated ."....that each and every closet, backhouse or privy must be cleaned by the 25th day of each and every month in each and every year," it continued.
It went on to state that it was unlawful to clean or remove the contents of these facilities except between the hours of 8 p.m. and 5 a.m. Nov. 1 through March 31, and 9 p.m. to 4 a.m. the rest of the year.
The next ordinance passed by the council allowed the purchase of a vehicle and horse or horses, as well as the hiring of a man to drive them and clean the out houses. The charge for this service was 35 cents.
In 1939, the council saw a need to control morality in the town, and began prohibiting such things a drunkenness, prostitution and other forms of immorality.
"...it shall be unlawful for any prostitute, lewd women or notoriously immoral person, to with in the corporate limits of the City of Rogers, Ark. to use, occupy, or keep any room, house, or place for the purpose of prostitution, illicit sexual intercourse, and it shall be unlawful for any person within the limits of said city to suffer or permit any room or house in their possession or control to be occupied, kept or used for such purpose."
Section two of that ordinance states "...it shall be unlawful for any male person over the age of fifteen years to frequent visit, any room, house or place kept, used, or occupied for the purpose of illicit sexual intercourse and it shall be unlawful for any male person over the age of fifteen to be guilty of associating in public or be found loitering on the streets, alleys, parks or public gatherings within the corporate limits of said city, with a female person or lewd, unchast or notoriously immoral character."
Ordinance 94, passed in June, 1913, said something about the growing problems associated with automobiles.
"If the rate of speed of any motor vehicle operated or drived upon any public thoroughfare within the said city of Rogers, Ark. as aforesaid shall exceed the rate of fifteen mile an hour, such rate of speed shall be prima facie that the person operating such motor vehicle is running at a rate of speed greater than is reasonable and proper." Speed was further restricted around corners and curves to a limit of six miles per hour.