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 one from each year up until now. The last post covered the 1919 Kalispell ordinance that started the prohibition of alcohol. Residents still wanted to have fun, but this week's post covers ordinances from 1920 that seem to be designed to stop people from enjoying themselves.
The first one, ordinance #352 from March of 1920, covered dancing restrictions. The city council indicated that any person dancing in a dance hall between 12 midnight and 8 am on Sundays, or between 1 am and 8 am any other days will be guilty of the offense of "Unlawful Dance" and will be punished by up to a $200 fine, imprisonment of no more than a month, or by both. Why? Did watching other people's dance moves late at night make the watchers want to drink?
In August of the same year, ordinance #360 was passed. This one regulated soft drink establishments, pool rooms, rooming houses and restaurants. Basically, everyone who operated any of these facilities would have to obtain a license. Soft drink establishments and pool rooms would have to pay $5 license fee per quarter, and rooming houses and restaurants $2 per quarter. The Mayor could refuse to approve any application (and cancel any existing license) if he felt the business would not be run in an orderly or lawful manner. While this ordinance doesn't eliminate fun in its entirety it probably made it harder to open a restaurant, rooming house, pool hall or soft drink establishment. So less fun was being had by all.
And then the town council decided to add to the license rule late in the year with their ordinance number #361. This one said businesses who sell soft drinks and pool rooms and bowling alleys must be closed by 11pm and cannot open before 7am. Anyone found guilty of not following these rules was guilty of "Conducting a Business Unlawfully" and would be fined up to $300, imprisoned by up to a month or both. Yes, bowling at 6:59am could sure cause problems! ??
And then, also in December, the city decided that anyone under the age of 18 would not be allowed in a pool room or bowling alley. Doing so would result in being found guilty of "Misconduct towards Minors" and that could be punishable of a fine of up to $300, imprisonment for up to a month or both.
By the way, the average salary in 1920 was somewhere around $275/month. So a $300 fee was an entire month's salary. Quite the hefty fine for opening your business before 7am.
So in just the one year alone, a 17 year old could not enter a pool hall, most establishments that included any kind of fun had strict time frames for closing and licenses were required to make it difficult to open any kind of business that allowed fun. Phooey.
So the question is, what was being done late at night that made Kalispell decide businesses should be closed at that time? And what was happening in pool halls that resulted in no under 18 year olds being allowed there? Secret bootlegging maybe?
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 firstname.lastname@example.org.
Originally posted at thehousekat.com . Photos were a result of Kat's imagination and AI.