1916 Kalispell Ordinance: Watch Your Feet

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 intriguing to see what some of the ordinances of the past were. If I can find enough interesting material, I hope to share at least one ordinance from each year. This series has reached 1916, and this ordinance is about your feet. Well, not yours exactly. Read on.

Ordinance #334 was approved on August 7, 1916. This ordinance was put in place to tell people where they can stand and/or walk.

Specifically, this ordinance stated that: "No person on foot shall pass over, or stand on, that portion of the intersection of any street or avenue with any other street or avenue lying within the square formed by an extention (sic) of the curb lines."

So what does that mean? The way I read this is that no person could stand in any intersection in Kalispell nor could they walk through an intersection.

I wonder what was the impetus for this ordinance. Perhaps people were meeting in intersections and standing there chit-chatting and blocking the horses, buggies and 8mph cars? Or perhaps too many people were getting run over as they stood in the intersection?

I didn't find anything to clarify the motivation when searching newspapers from the 1916 time period, but I did find this article:

If you read it, it seems that drivers at the time couldn't figure out how to know who could go first at an intersection.

Imagine having to figure out which was the longitudinal street while at the same time avoiding the chatting people who were in the way at the same time cruising at 8mph? Be "sure..to drive slowly" must have meant slowing down to 2mph! Too funny.

Anyway, the 1916 ordinance went on to say that any person violating this rule was considered as having obstructed traffic and they would be fined for the first time up to $10. If they did it again, they'd be fined at least $5 (with no maximum indicated) or thrown in jail for up to ten days or fined and thrown in jail.

They meant it! Don't walk in the intersection!

And there you have it, another blast from the past of Kalispell Montana. I wonder what I'll find the next time I peek into the Kalispell Ordinances?

As always if you have any real estate related questions, feel free to give me a call on 406-270-3667 or email me at kat@thehousekat.com.

Originally posted at thehousekat.com.

Comments (24)

Bill Salvatore - East Valley
Arizona Elite Properties - Chandler, AZ
Realtor - 602-999-0952 / em: golfArizona@cox.net

Thanks for sharing and enjoy your week!

Bill Salvatore, Realtor- Arizona Elite Properties

Aug 01, 2023 12:25 PM
Kat Palmiotti

Thank you Bill Salvatore - East Valley !

Aug 01, 2023 02:10 PM
Wanda Kubat-Nerdin - Wanda Can!
Red Rock Real Estate (435) 632-9374 - St. George, UT
St. George Utah Area Residential Sales Agent

Can't imagine getting hit by a vehicle at 8 miles an hour, LOL! Perhaps, it was another way to keep people from loitering as well, Kat. FUN stuff!

Aug 01, 2023 12:25 PM
Kat Palmiotti

Wanda Kubat-Nerdin - Wanda Can! - hmm, maybe the loitering was a reason!

Aug 01, 2023 02:10 PM
George Souto
George Souto NMLS #65149 FHA, CHFA, VA Mortgages - Middletown, CT
Your Connecticut Mortgage Expert

Kat Palmiotti this ordinance is as clear as mud to me ...... LOL

Aug 01, 2023 02:50 PM
Kat Palmiotti

George Souto - you're not alone!

Aug 02, 2023 05:00 AM
Andrea Bedard
Thompson Company, REALTORS® 240.593.2860 - Silver Spring, MD
Fluent in Real Estate & German, M.A. ABR ASP CIPS

$10 was a lot of money in 1916! Plus jail time for a repeat offense. They took this seriously! I can't imagine what prompted it but I'm guessing someone important must have been annoyed by having to navigate around people. 

Aug 01, 2023 02:55 PM
Kat Palmiotti

You're probably on the right trail with that one Andrea Bedard - maybe the mayor's wife! haha

Aug 02, 2023 05:00 AM
Kathy Streib
Cypress, TX
Home Stager/Redesign

Hi Kat- wouldn't you love to speak to someone from that time and who knew why they had this ordinance!!!??   I'm with Wanda Kubat-Nerdin - Wanda Can! maybe it had something to do with loitering. 

Aug 01, 2023 05:52 PM
Kat Palmiotti

Kathy Streib - Yes! I would have so many questions for someone from that time.

Aug 02, 2023 04:59 AM
Endre Barath, Jr.
Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices California Properties - Beverly Hills, CA
Realtor - Los Angeles Home Sales 310.486.1002

All I can say is when Holly and I walk we take about 2miles per hour when we moving fast:)Endre

Aug 01, 2023 11:22 PM
Kat Palmiotti

Endre Barath, Jr. - which sounds like a good speed!

Aug 02, 2023 04:58 AM
Brian England
Ambrose Realty Management LLC - Gilbert, AZ
MBA, GRI, REALTOR® Real Estate in East Valley AZ

It makes sense, people shouldn't be blocking the intersections, haha.  I remember signs in downtown Manhattan that entailed people weren't allowed to stand still on the sidewalks, they needed to keep moving, haha.

Aug 02, 2023 07:53 AM
Kat Palmiotti

Brian England - I don't remember those Manhattan signs!

Aug 02, 2023 08:00 AM
Brian England

They said something like don't stand on the street, keep moving.  I don't recall exactly but it was a long time ago and I got a kick out of them.

Aug 02, 2023 08:19 AM
Patricia Feager, MBA, CRS, GRI,MRP
Selling Homes Changing Lives

Kat Palmiotti - I enjoyed reading what you shared. As usual, I had a flashback (more current in history) pertaining to intersections. I moved to Flower Mound in early 1997. There was a very dangerous crossroad with no stop signs or traffic lights. It really was the most dangerous intersection to cross with the most accidents. Drivers, did not know when to go, or what the other driver was planning to do, or do you just stop and let the people behind you honk until your ears can no longer take it, then make a decision? It took several years before the Town of Flower installed traffic lights. 

Writing ordinances is a good thing, provided the law makers or people in charge have a sound mind and can make intelligent decisions. The ordinance put in place in Kalispell in the year 1916 telling where to stand and/or walk may sound ridiculous now, but back then, I'm sure it was no laughing matter. Since everything always has and always will be subject to interpretation, I'm not surprised how specific the 1916 Ordinance in Kalispell was written.

Oh dear, I just had another flashback to my early teenage years in Chicago. I worked in Downtown at prestigious offices and they had dress codes to follow. Well, there were many areas in Chicago where if it poured rain, and the streets/curbs got flooded, drivers didn't care to slow down, and they spashed all that yucking dirt, mud, and water on the people. You'll never know how many times I ended up with splashed dirt and wetting streaks of mud on my clothing. The worst was the marks they left on my pantyhose that covered my legs. It was so embarassing!

Yes! Ordinances are put in place for a reason! 

Aug 02, 2023 09:02 AM
Kat Palmiotti

Patricia Feager, MBA, CRS, GRI,MRP crossroads would definitely be more dangerous without lights and signs and rules! I'm sure there was a reason for the rule I mentioned above but I wish the ordinances came with explanations of WHY. As for getting splashed by cars, yuck. That would not be a fun day at work. Thanks for taking the time to comment!

Aug 02, 2023 06:01 PM
Will Hamm
Hamm Homes - Aurora, CO
"Where There's a Will, There's a Way!"

Wow Kat, I love it that you looking into the history of Kalispell and pass it on to us.  I do not see many people in any city get a ticket for j walking and think some places should fine people.  lol


Aug 02, 2023 12:06 PM
Kat Palmiotti

Will Hamm - I bet there are rules but they aren't enforced!

Aug 02, 2023 05:59 PM
Endre Barath, Jr.
Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices California Properties - Beverly Hills, CA
Realtor - Los Angeles Home Sales 310.486.1002

Kat Palmiotti  had to come back Patricia Feager, MBA, CRS, GRI,MRP  comment should have been a post:) I recall once reading a post and I decided to reply via writing my post.... ironically it was not friendly like the two of you bantering.... I basically mentioned the person was preaching from the throne... oh and he still does.... Endre

Aug 02, 2023 09:43 PM
Patricia Feager, MBA, CRS, GRI,MRP

Kat Palmiotti - My humble and sincere apologies for the way I handled my comment to your Kailispell story that was both interesting and unusual. Based on Endre Barath, Jr. comment, I fear others may also think I was hyjacking your post. Honestly, that was not my intention. I hereby will never do that again. 

Aug 03, 2023 04:11 AM
Kat Palmiotti

Patricia Feager, MBA, CRS, GRI,MRP - Stop that immediately! I enjoyed reading your post and you did NOT hijack it. Continue being you!!!

Endre Barath, Jr. - Thanks for taking the time to comment and read. I really don't mind long comments or short ones. I appreciate them all!

Aug 03, 2023 04:27 AM
Patricia Feager, MBA, CRS, GRI,MRP
Selling Homes Changing Lives

Kat Palmiotti - Thank you very much. I appreciate your comment a lot.

Aug 03, 2023 06:45 PM
Elyse Berman, PA
LoKation Real Estate - Boca Raton, FL
Boca Raton FL (561) 716-7824

That's interesting.  They fined the people, not the drivers!

Aug 04, 2023 12:06 PM
Kat Palmiotti

Elyse Berman, PA - I'd love to know why!

Aug 04, 2023 02:27 PM
Sheri Sperry - MCNE®
Coldwell Banker Realty - Sedona, AZ
(928) 274-7355 ~ YOUR Solutions REALTOR®

Hi Kat,

These old regulations you have unearthed are so much fun and give us a sense of what it was like over 1000 years ago in Kalispell MT.

Aug 04, 2023 02:28 PM
Kat Palmiotti

I'm having fun reading them Sheri Sperry - MCNE® !

Aug 05, 2023 04:55 AM
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

Kat, So people were restricted from occupying that specific space within the intersection. Something must have been happening at the time. So safety concerns I'm guessing...

Aug 05, 2023 08:47 AM
Kat Palmiotti

Maybe! I wish I knew for sure, Lawrence "Larry" & Sheila Agranoff. Cell: 631-805-4400 

Aug 05, 2023 12:47 PM
Georgie Hunter R(S) 58089
Hawai'i Life Real Estate Brokers - Haiku, HI
Maui Real Estate sales and lifestyle info

Very interesting.  It's funny how things evolve regarding roads, traffic, and pedestrians.  We take it for granted that we use crosswalks, but in the past it was just cross the street wherever you liked because the traffic was slow enough to not be dangerous.

Aug 08, 2023 02:45 PM
Kat Palmiotti

I found another ordinance that focuses on road rules, coming up soon Georgie Hunter R(S) 58089 !

Aug 08, 2023 03:48 PM
Debe Maxwell, CRS
Savvy + Company (704) 491-3310 - Charlotte, NC

I wonder if people on horseback were able to stop and loiter as long as they didn't get off of their horses?! 

How fun these findings are, Kat. History is so very fascinating, isn't it?! 

And, the fine is outrageous - or was back in 1916; that was a LOT of money back then! 

Aug 10, 2023 06:20 AM
Kat Palmiotti

I'm really enjoying reading these ordinances Debe Maxwell, CRS - I'm learning a lot about the area and how things were here many years ago...

Aug 10, 2023 07:29 AM
Debe Maxwell, CRS

Oh, that's right up my alley too, Kat Palmiotti - it's fascinating to see how differently we were governed back then! 

Aug 10, 2023 08:59 AM
Jeff Dowler, CRS
eXp Realty of California, Inc. - Carlsbad, CA
The Southern California Relocation Dude

Hi Kat:

Well, that was certainly a different sort of ordinance...perhaps crosswalks and lights, and laws about jaywalking, evolved from this


Aug 11, 2023 04:35 PM
Kat Palmiotti

Perhaps Jeff Dowler, CRS !

Aug 12, 2023 04:40 AM
Joan Cox
House to Home, Inc. - Denver Real Estate - 720-231-6373 - Denver, CO
Denver Real Estate - Selling One Home at a Time

Kat, I really enjoy this series you are doing, and a brief look back so long ago.  They did have some really silly ordinances.

Aug 13, 2023 02:00 PM
Kat Palmiotti

Joan Cox - we're getting close to the prohibition timeframe - wonder what those ordinances will look like!

Aug 13, 2023 02:55 PM
Joan Cox

That will be interesting!

Aug 13, 2023 04:12 PM
Mike McCann - Nebraska Farm Land Broker
Mike McCann - Broker, Mach1 Realty Farm & Commercial Land Broker-Auctioneer Serving Nebraska - Kearney, NE
Farm Land For Sale 308-627-3700 or 800-241-3940

Good Morning Kat Palmiotti   Very intriguing.  And now we are supposed to only cross at intersections.  My Hometown weekly newspaper (that I do a lot of advertising in) runs a section called "Days Gone By" and they go back with shorts clips every 10 years.  I love reading the old things they bring up.  I could be totally comfotable living 110 or 120 years ago.  

Aug 17, 2023 06:05 AM
Kat Palmiotti

Mike McCann - Nebraska Farm Land Broker - I do find history about a place I'm living in to be so interesting! I'd definitely be perusing "Days Gone By" in the paper!

Aug 17, 2023 07:57 AM
Paul S. Henderson, REALTOR®, CRS
Fathom Realty Washington LLC - Tacoma, WA
South Puget Sound Washington Agent/Broker!

I have such a respect for your commenters, the value added is wonderful 🤓

Sep 04, 2023 12:50 PM
Kat Palmiotti

I have respect for them as well Paul S. Henderson, REALTOR®, CRS !

Sep 04, 2023 03:52 PM