1911 Kalispell Ordinance: Hoses
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 ordinance from each year. This week’s post will cover a Kalispell ordinance I found from 1911 about hoses.
Ordinance #234 approved in July 1911 indicated that no one was allowed to ride, drive an automobile or any other vehicle across or onto any hose that is lying on any street in the City of Kalispell unless there was a frame over the hose. Anyone who violated this rule was going to receive a fine of up to $300 and/or go to jail for up to 90 days.
What? If you drive over a hose you have to pay 1/4 or 1/2 of your annual salary in fines? We have all driven over hoses at one time or another. What was the big deal?
Here’s my assumption about the issue. The first hoses used were made of leather which was followed by hoses made of cotton/linen, and then those were upgraded with rubber on the inside, and then rubber hoses were invented. And now we can buy not only plain old rubber hoses but hoses encased in steel if we want to!
But back then, most hoses that were used in the city of Kalispell must have been made of cloth. This first ad was taken from the Missoula Montana paper, The Daily Missoulian on May 3, 1909. Cotton hoses were still in use at the time of the 1911 ordinance.
And rubber hoses were also available around the same time per the second ad which was taken from the same paper in 1913.
So imagine a hose made of cloth with no rubber lining. It would fill with water, and water would indeed shoot out the end, but the cloth would get extremely wet. If a vehicle ran over it, it would remain flat and be of no use until someone went and fixed it. I’m guessing those who placed those hoses in town were getting tired of having to fix them.
I found it funny that there was possibly jail time for running over a hose. Especially in an area that currently has a lot fewer rules and regulations than many other states. Perhaps Mayor Whipps, who approved the ordinance, was good friends with hose-owners.
I suspect at some point, I’ll find an ordinance that repealed this ordinance because as far as I know, there is no current rule about running over a hose with you car in Kalispell.Should you do it? No, driving over a hose even today could damage it. But if it’s left lying in the middle of a road you need to go down? Heck, I’d say keep on driving.
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