Twin Cities Metro Area
A COMPILATION OF LATE 19TH-/EARLY 20TH-CENTURY SANITATION REGULATIONS FOR THE CITY OF MINNEAPOLIS, MINNESOTA
John P. McCarthy
While the City of Minneapolis was incorporated in 1867 (Kane 1987:60), and the cities of St. Anthony and Minneapolis formally consolidated in 1872 (Folwell 1969:480), copies of city ordinances and regulations dating prior to ca. 1873, such as they may have been, appear to have been lost. Accordingly, this compilation begins with ordinances published in 1874.
FROM: Merrick, A. N. (City Attorney and Compiler) 1874 The City Charter of the City of Minneapolis. Tribune Printing Company, Minneapolis.
Ordinance No. 5, Relating to Nuisances (Passed May 21, 1873)
Section 2. "No person or persons shall within the limits of the city of Minneapolis, permit or suffer to be or remain offensive, nauseous, hurtful, dangerous, unhealthy or uncomfortable to or for the neighborhood, any outhouse, privy, vault, sewer, private drain, sink, pool, putrid or unsound flesh-meat, fish, skin, carcass, or any other unwholesome or offensive substance, liquid, or thing whatsoever, on or upon his, her, or their premises..." (52).
Ordinance No. 6, Relative to Scavengers (Passed April 11, 1873)
Section 1. Scavengers are required to hold a license (55).
Section 2. Scavengers are required to post a bond (55).
Section 3. Scavengers may at the direction of city officials enter "upon any premises between sunrise and sunset, for the purpose of examining any vault, privy or private drain, and shall be permitted access to any and all parts of every dwelling or building in the city... " (56).
Section 4. City officials have the right to direct that "any such sink, privy, or private drain shall need cleaning, altering, relaying or repairing, in order to protect the public health...." following written notification of the owner or occupant "cause" the cleaning, repair, etc. be carried out with a 50 percent penalty to the owner (56).
Section 5. "Scavengers shall not empty or remove the contents of any tub, vault, sink or privy or private drain, otherwise than in boxes or casks made tight and closely covered, and at such hours or times of day or might as the Mayor or Chief of Police may direct" (56).
Section 7. Scavengers are to be paid 15 cents per cubic foot and not less than 50 cents for the removal of wastes (56).
Ordinance No. 7, Creating a Board of Health (Passed May 21, 1873) (58-63).
Ordinance No. 13, Relating to Tapping and Using of Sewers in the City of Minneapolis (Passed June 21, 1873)
Section 1. "That from and after the 21st day of June A. D. 1873, any person who shall be the owner or the lessee of premises desiring to connect with any of the sewers of the city, shall first make application to the City Engineer..." and receive a permit for tapping the sewer (78).
Section 6. "It shall be deemed unlawful for any person to use a private sewer or house drain, connected with any of the public sewers, without providing an intervening catch-basin to catch and retain the silt and heavy substances carried from the gutters or sink-pools, and without also providing at all inlets suitable gratings to prevent the admission of rubbish or solid matter..." (80).
Section 10. "No dwelling house, store, or other building, shall be erected or materially altered, on any street or alley on which there is a sewer, without providing an underground connection by drain pipes with the sewer for carrying off all the drainage which would otherwise flow across the footway or sidewalks of streets" (80).
Section 13. "No drain from any building shall be connected with a public sewer unless it be by drain-pipe of six inches in diameter, unless specially authorized by the commissioner" (81).
Ordinance No. 29, Establishing the Fire Limits and Regulating the Construction and Removal of Buildings therein, and the Carrying on of Business Deemed Hazardous, on Account of Fire (Passed September 10, 1873)
Section 1. Requires permits for the erection of buildings (141).
Section 12. Ashes are to be stored only in a "close and secure vessel, or brick or stone ash room" (144).
FROM: Cooley, Grove B. (Compiler) 1877 The City Charter, Municipal Court Act, and Ordinances of the City of Minneapolis. Johnson, Smith, & Harrison, Minneapolis.
VII An Ordinance Relating to Tapping and Using of Sewers in the City of Minneapolis (As amended May 17, 1877) Provisions not present in the original include:
Section 1. All downspouts or other opening that discharge water are to be connected to the sewer (104).
Section 5. "It shall be unlawful for any person to place, throw or deposit in any catch-basin, sewer, or drain, butchers' offal, garbage, dead animals, ashes, shavings, or solid refuse of any kind, ..." (106).
FROM: City Council (Compiler) 1885 The City Charter, Municipal Court Act, Act Creating Board of Park Commissioners, and School Law, of the City of Minneapolis with Amendments of 1883 and 1885. Johnson, Smith, & Harrison, Minneapolis.
Chapter IX Water Works and Sewers (including February and March 1885 amendments)
Sections 3 and 4. Specify means of assessing the cost of installing new or upgraded water and sewer lines, respectively, to the owners of the lots abutting the street containing the lines (56-57).
Section 5. Allows for the city to install branch connections to individual lots at the cost of the lot owner (58-59).
FROM: Healy, Frank, L. A. Lydiard, W. H. Morse, and Henry N. Knott (Compilers) 1905 Minneapolis City Charter and Ordinances, Court and Board Acts, Park Ordinances, Rules of City Council, Etc. City Council, Minneapolis.
An Ordinance Governing the Construction of Privy Vaults and Cess Pools and Regulating the Disposition of Night Soil and Other Refuse (Passed September 26, 1890)
Section 1. Requires that a permit for the hauling of wastes be obtained from the City's Health Department (724).
Section 2. Requires that wastes be "removed and transported by means of some airtight apparatuses, pneumatic or other process so as to prevent the said contents from being agitated or exposed in the open air..." (724).
Section 3. Requires that on and after the 15th of October 1890 that wastes be transported only in vehicles approved by the Health Department (724).
Section 4. "No person other than a properly licensed scavenger shall clean any privy vault or cesspool..." (724-25).
An Ordinance Requiring Branch Gas and Water Pipes and Sewers to be Laid and Connections Made With the Front Line of Lots Abutting on Streets and Avenues in the City of Minneapolis Ordered to be Paved Before Such Paving is Done (Passed June 14, 1895)
Section 1. Before any street or avenue in the City of Minneapolis shall be paved, all gas, water, and sewer pipes and mains shall be laid therein and connections made...to the front line of each lot abutting on any such street ordered to be paved" (909).
Section 2. "[T]he owners of property abutting on such street or avenue shall put in all necessary branch gas and water pipes and sewers and make all necessary connections with the sewer, gas, and water mains in such street or avenue to the front line of their respective lots and premises abutting on the same" (910).
An Ordinance Relating to Out Houses, Privy Vaults, and Cess Pools (Passed Dec. 13, 1901)
Section 1. No person persons, corporation or corporations shall hereafter build or erect any outhouse, privy vault, or cesspool upon or in any lot, part of lot or parcel of land in the City of Minneapolis fronting on any street, avenue, or alley in which street, avenue, or alley water pipe and sewer have been laid, with which water pipe and sewer, water and sewer connections may be made" (728).
An Ordinance Relating to the Preservation of Health and the Prevention and Suppression of Disease in the City of Minneapolis, and to Prevent the Introduction of Contagious Infectious and Other Diseases Into the City (Passed June 25, 1897, amended December 24, 1897, January 28, 1905, and April 17, 1905)
Section 34. Refuse is not to be accumulated or discarded "into or upon any street alley, lot, vacant place, sidewalk, catch basin, manhole, gutter, pond, lake, river, creek, or other body of water, or upon the banks thereof...any animal or vegetable matter, garbage, swill, slops, sewage, offal, butchers' waste, store sweepings, street sweepings, rubbish, refuse, manure, straw, hay, animal beddings, ashes, night soil, sewage sludge, contents of cess-pools or privy vaults, or other nauseous or unwholesome substance, fluid, or thing" (715).
Section 35. Water-tight boxes, barrels, buckets, or other receptacle must be provided at all residential and commercial buildings for the storage of refuse, and this containers must be emptied or cleaned as often as necessary so that it not become a nuisance (716).
Section 36. Refuse is to be removed daily from public establishments where food is handled or prepared (716).
Section 37. "No person shall throw into any privy vault, sink, or cess-pool within said city, any garbage, offal, swill or other household refuse; nor shall any person discharge, or cause to be discharged, into any privy vault, the slops or water running through or from any sink or drain pipe within any dwelling or other building" (716).
Section 38. "The owner of or agent or occupant of any house, store, factory, or other building or premises within said city, upon or in connection with any privy vaults or cess-pools are maintained, shall make and keep such privy vaults and cess-pools water tight and in good repair and shall empty the same to the bottom and cleanse and disinfect the same whenever said privy vaults or cess-pools shall be or become nauseous, offensive or dangerous to the public health, or whenever the Department of Health of said city may adjudge such emptying, cleansing and disinfecting to be necessary, and order the same to be done" (716).
Section 39. "Every owner of or agent for any house store, hotel, factory, or other building within said city, shall make connections, agreeably to the provisions of the plumbing ordinance of said city, between such building and the public sewers exist in the immediately adjacent or abutting streets and whenever the Department of health of said city shall order such sewer connection to be made, and no cess-pool shall hereafter be used, maintained or allowed to remain on any such premises which are properly connected with a sewer. And in the absence of such sewers in the immediately adjacent or abutting streets the owner or agent for such building shall make, or cause to be made, a cess-pool in connection with such building whenever the Department of health of said city shall consider the same to be necessary, and shall order the same to be done, and in such location and of such dimension as the building inspector shall direct" (716-17).
City Council (Compiler) 1885 The City Charter, Municipal Court Act, Act Creating Board of Park Commissioners, and School Law, of the City of Minneapolis with Amendments of 1883 and 1885. Johnson, Smith, & Harrison, Minneapolis.
Cooley, Grove B. (Compiler) 1877 The City Charter, Municipal Court Act, and Ordinances of the City of Minneapolis. Johnson, Smith, & Harrison, Minneapolis.
Folwell, William W. 1969 A History of Minnesota, Volume III. Revised Edition. Minnesota Historical Society Press, St. Paul (originally published in 1926).
Kane, Lucile M. 1987 The Falls of St. Anthony: The Waterfalls That Built Minneapolis. Minnesota Historical Society Press, St. Paul.
Healy, Frank, L. A. Lydiard, W. H. Morse, and Henry N. Knott (Compilers) 1905 Minneapolis City Charter and Ordinances, Court and Board Acts, Park Ordinances, Rules of City Council, Etc. City Council, Minneapolis.
Merrick, A. N. (City Attorney and Compiler) 1874 The City Charter of the City of Minneapolis. Tribune Printing Company, Minneapolis.
© 1999 The Institute for Minnesota Archaeology
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Updated 29 Jun 1999