This column ran in the May 12, edition of the Prairie Post
The community of Jamestown was in transition back in the spring of 1910. The town was changing and becoming more modern.
Some of those changes we probably still walk on today. The city ordered the replacement of some of the wooden boardwalks with cement sidewalks.
The city didn’t order all the boardwalks replaced, just those that were rotting away. The city also threatened to pour the concrete slabs themselves if the property owner didn’t do the work to their specifications.
The cost of those city-built sidewalks would go on the taxes of the property as a special assessment so maybe some things haven’t changed that much.
That same spring the Jamestown Board of Health ordered some of the buildings in the business district to demolish their “closets” or outhouses and be connected to the city’s sewer system.
I’m not quite sure why anyone would have to be ordered to have indoor plumbing.
Evidently there were some traditionalists who just didn’t want to see change.
The same meeting of the board of health also issued a reminder that spitting on “sidewalks or crossings of any street, alley or driveway” was illegal with a fine of $5 to $20. The ordinance also covered throwing garbage on the street or spitting inside any public building.
The public laws against spitting in public were generally an effort to limit the spread of tuberculosis.
But while Jamestown was making some steps towards being a little city on the prairie it still had some rural aspects.
On May 11, 1910 the Jamestown Board of Health decreed that anyone with a barn or stable in Jamestown must keep the premise clean and free of manure. The ordinance specified that all the manure had to be hauled out of town at least once a week. If you had a few horses and a couple of milk cows in town that could be a lot of manure to haul.
So it had to be a busy summer a century ago in Jamestown. Sidewalks were being built, plumbing was being installed and manure was being hauled.
And the cops were making sure no one spit on the sidewalks.
And in charge of the livestock regulations in Jamestown was a local veterinarian and livery stable owner. Dr. L’Moore actually held a significant position in the city even if his title didn’t sound terribly important. He was charged with making sure all the cattle and horses in town were healthy and had no communicable diseases.
In May of 1910 Dr. L’Moore, the father of world famous author Louis L’Amour, was appointed “cow inspector” for Jamestown.