1904 Kalispell Ordinance: Fruit Pests

Real Estate Broker/Owner with 406-270-3667, kat@thehousekat.com, Broker/REALTOR® RRE-BRO-LIC-75443

I recently found an online directory of Kalispell City ordinances and thought it'd be interesting to see what some of ordinances of the past were. So first, I went back to the very first entry in the online directory, which is from 1904. It's ordinance number 169 so there are probably 168 ordinances that aren't available online. So this post won't cover the very first Kalispell ordinance which would have been fun, but it will cover the very first available online ordinance.

1904 Kalispell Ordinance: Fruit Pests picture of moth larvaeIn June of 1904, Kalispell (and many areas of Montana) were dealing with a pest infestation that was resulting in infected fruit being sold in markets. The pests were Codling Moths, an insect that mainly impacts fruit trees such as apple and pear. The larvae doesn't feed on leaves, but instead they enter the fruit through the sides, stem or other end of the fruit. They feed toward the core of the fruit, and leave a tunnel that leads to fruit rotting. Apparently, the moth larva are very hard to detect without cutting the fruit directly. By the way, these moths are still an issue today, but there are ways of treating them. (PS - photo is of larvae, but not necessarily the correct moth larvae.)

Back in 1904, the June 20th ordinance indicated every person in Kalispell who had apple or pear trees would have to spray those trees as directed but no more than four times per year. The Inspector of Fruit Pests had the responsibility to notify fruit tree owners when to spray them. If they did not spray within two days after notification, the Inspector would do so. He would also charge the fruit owners no more than 25 cents per tree for his work which was probably a lot at that time.

A question immediately popped into my mind and that was "what did they spray them with?" While there are non-chemical ways to handle these pests today, what was available in 1904? I couldn't find any information specific to Kalispell, but I did find an article from the early 1900s in a different state that indicated lead and arsenate were often used to spray for these moths. So chances are, that's what was used in Montana. Hopefully those apples and pears were washed well before eating!

1904 Kalispell Ordinance: Fruit Pests newspaper article photoSo did the spraying work? It appears for the most part it did. In 1906 an article in the Lewistown MT Fergus County Democrat newspaper indicated the infestations were close to being eradicated. As this article states, there was "less than a hatful" of fruit remaining with issues.

And that's it for the first online Kalispell Ordinance! I plan to pick one ordinance from each year to explore (if they are interesting enough). Stay tuned! For more on Kalispell, check out this Kalispell link.


Originally posted at thehousekat.com.

Comments (24)

George Souto
George Souto NMLS #65149 FHA, CHFA, VA Mortgages - Middletown, CT
Your Connecticut Mortgage Expert

Kat Palmiotti 25 cents per tree was probably a lot of money back then.

Jan 02, 2023 10:19 AM
Kat Palmiotti

Yes, indeed George Souto !

Jan 02, 2023 01:52 PM
Nina Hollander, Broker
Coldwell Banker Realty - Charlotte, NC
Your Greater Charlotte Realtor

This was a fun read, Kat... I always find historical stories like this interesting

Jan 02, 2023 11:01 AM
Kat Palmiotti

Nina Hollander, Broker - next week's will be even more interesting!

Jan 02, 2023 01:52 PM
Nina Hollander, Broker

Kat Palmiotti can't wait!

Jan 02, 2023 02:16 PM
Sheri Sperry - MCNE®
Coldwell Banker Realty - Sedona, AZ
(928) 274-7355 ~ YOUR Solutions REALTOR®

Hi Kat Palmiotti,

You are going to be the “go to” person for the ordnances. Being an expert in this area can be very beneficial. 

Jan 02, 2023 01:45 PM
Kat Palmiotti

Sheri Sperry - MCNE® - at this point, I'm just having fun. It would be great to become an expert in historical town facts!

Jan 02, 2023 01:52 PM
Lawrence "Larry" & Sheila Agranoff. Cell: 631-805-4400
The Top Team @ Charles Rutenberg Realty 255 Executive Dr, Plainview NY 11803 - Plainview, NY
Long Island Condo and Home Specialists

You really did some researching Kat and how interesting your findings are. Look forward to more of what you will find!

Jan 02, 2023 02:30 PM
Kat Palmiotti

Lawrence "Larry" & Sheila Agranoff. Cell: 631-805-4400 - the next one is in draft form!

Jan 02, 2023 03:21 PM
Kathy Streib
Cypress, TX
Home Stager/Redesign

Wow Kat...I love how you can journey down the rabbit hole and bring back truly interesting information. I have often gone down similar holes. And I do wonder what they used to kill the pests. 

I hope you'll continue with this series. 

Jan 02, 2023 07:07 PM
Kat Palmiotti

Kathy Streib - #2 is already in draft form!

Jan 03, 2023 04:33 AM
Marte Cliff
Marte Cliff Copywriting - Priest River, ID
Your real estate writer

I love this kind of information. Sometimes our local paper prints a "looking back" column, and I always enjoy it.

Jan 02, 2023 07:11 PM
Kat Palmiotti

Marte Cliff - I was so excited to find the database of old information!

Jan 03, 2023 04:34 AM
Brian England
Arizona Focus Realty - Gilbert, AZ
MBA, GRI, REALTOR® Real Estate in East Valley AZ

I worry about plants being sprayed with stuff that will kill insects because it likely isn't something that we should be consuming either, haha.

Jan 03, 2023 04:35 AM
Kat Palmiotti

Brian England - I'm sure it wasn't good for them!

Jan 03, 2023 07:24 AM
Jeffrey DiMuria 321.223.6253 Waves Realty
Waves Realty - Melbourne, FL
Florida Space Coast Homes

I kinda like the history lesson. Pests are pests no matter what part of the country they are in.

Jan 03, 2023 02:32 PM
Kat Palmiotti

So true Jeffrey DiMuria 321.223.6253 Waves Realty !

Jan 03, 2023 02:43 PM
Wanda Kubat-Nerdin - Wanda Can!
Red Rock Real Estate (435) 632-9374 - St. George, UT
St. George Utah Area Residential Sales Agent

Uck! Gone are the days of biting right into fruit picked from the trees. We had a late freeze that killed all our blooms last growing season...hope that took care of the pests too...crossing fingers! LOL

Jan 03, 2023 03:38 PM
Kat Palmiotti

Oh no, Wanda Kubat-Nerdin - Wanda Can! - hopefully you have no pests and next growing season has no late freeze!

Jan 03, 2023 06:39 PM
Wanda Kubat-Nerdin - Wanda Can!

Thank you and hope your growing season brings a plentiful harvest, Kat!

Jan 03, 2023 06:41 PM
Paul S. Henderson, REALTOR®, CRS
Fathom Realty Washington LLC - Tacoma, WA
South Puget Sound Washington Agent/Broker!

The fruit harvest is quite a money maker for the folks who live in eastern Washington and it doesn’t take much to cripple that economy Kat Palmiotti 

Jan 04, 2023 12:06 PM
Kat Palmiotti

I'll bet Paul S. Henderson, REALTOR®, CRS - and fruit pests would definitely harm that economy!

Jan 04, 2023 02:17 PM
Lise Howe
Keller Williams Capital Properties - Washington, DC
Assoc. Broker in DC, MD, VA and attorney in DC

What a fun research project! A very interesting tidbit of history.. although eating fruit after it's been sprayed down with lead does not sound like the safest thing lol 

Jan 05, 2023 06:39 AM
Kat Palmiotti

I wonder if they even knew how dangerous that was, Lise Howe !

Jan 05, 2023 10:02 AM
Paul S. Henderson, REALTOR®, CRS
Fathom Realty Washington LLC - Tacoma, WA
South Puget Sound Washington Agent/Broker!

Our governor, last year, while we were still under Covid protocols took 10 boxes of apples from the governors mansion to our friends in eastern Washington, where all of our fruit yes produced. The only problem is there’s a law that protects outside fruit from entering Eastern Washington because of the pest. He had to pack them up and take them back to Western Washington give them to a food bank 🙂.

Jan 07, 2023 09:30 AM
Kat Palmiotti

Oh boy, Paul S. Henderson, REALTOR®, CRS -  rules can get in the way of doing something good!

Jan 07, 2023 02:00 PM
Kathy Streib
Cypress, TX
Home Stager/Redesign

Jan 07, 2023 05:49 PM
Kat Palmiotti

Thank you Kathy Streib !

Jan 08, 2023 09:55 AM
Wayne Martin
Wayne M Martin - Chicago, IL
Real Estate Broker - Retired

Good morning Kat. Always interesting to get a history lesson. And now you will have me washing my fruit well before consumption. Might even skip a day or two. Enjoy your day.

Jan 08, 2023 05:03 AM
Kat Palmiotti

Wayne Martin - washing fruit in 1904 would be a must!

Jan 08, 2023 09:56 AM
Carol Williams
Although I'm retired, I love sharing my knowledge and learning from other real estate industry professionals. - Wenatchee, WA
Retired Agent / Broker / Property Manager

Hi Kat,
Your post reminded me of my husband's work. He was a research scientist for the USDA Agricultural Research Service. Living in Wenatchee, the Apple Capital of the World, I am well aware of Codling Moth and other pesky critters that want to feed on our fruit.

Some interesting (and strange) laws are still on the books all over the U.S.

Jan 08, 2023 05:24 AM
Kat Palmiotti

Carol Williams - There are indeed interesting and strange laws - I hadn't ever heard of a Codling Moth before I found this ordinance so you're a step ahead of me!

Jan 08, 2023 09:57 AM
Thomas J. Nelson, REALTOR ® e-Pro CRS RCS-D Vets
Big Block Realty 858.232.8722 - La Jolla, CA
& Host of Postcards From Success Podcast

Fun to explore history and trivia!

Jan 08, 2023 07:01 AM
Kat Palmiotti

It sure is Thomas J. Nelson, REALTOR ® e-Pro CRS RCS-D Vets !

Jan 08, 2023 09:57 AM
Ed Silva
Mapleridge Realty, CT 203-206-0754 - Waterbury, CT
Central CT Real Estate Broker Serving all equally

That's different and yet older probably still very appropriate today in all areas of the country

Jan 08, 2023 09:04 AM
Kat Palmiotti

Ed Silva - those moths are still around!

Jan 08, 2023 09:57 AM
Anna Banana Kruchten Phoenix Broker
HomeSmart Real Estate - Phoenix, AZ

Kat what was interesting to me is that when I first started coming to AZ (1980's)  there was some kind of ordinance that you could not transport fruit into the state.  They stopped everyone at the border stations and asked if you had any fruit.  All semi's were stopped as well.  Clearly there must have been an issue just like Kalispell had back in 1904. Very interesting path......I like it!

Jan 08, 2023 10:34 AM
Kat Palmiotti

Thank you Anna Banana Kruchten Phoenix Broker - apparently AZ wasn't the only state that forbid fruit!

Jan 08, 2023 10:35 AM
Anna Banana Kruchten Phoenix Broker

Apparently not Kat!  But it was so much later than 1904.......I should look it up as I haven't heard anything about it for many years.  The problem must have been cleared up - just like yours.

Jan 08, 2023 10:52 AM
Dorie Dillard Austin TX
Coldwell Banker Realty ~ 512.750.6899 - Austin, TX
NW Austin ~ Canyon Creek and Spicewood/Balcones

Good afternoon Kat,

Good for you for digging up some interesting historical data. Its always fun to explore trivia in your area!

Jan 08, 2023 11:27 AM
Kat Palmiotti

It sure is fun digging up facts, Dorie Dillard Austin TX !

Jan 08, 2023 12:08 PM
Patricia Feager, MBA, CRS, GRI,MRP
Selling Homes Changing Lives

Kat Palmiotti - Good information to know!

Jan 09, 2023 08:06 AM