Interesting Urbana City Codes from 1954

Photo by Jon JordanWhere would our society be without laws? They are some of the most important things when it comes to keeping people safe and holding others accountable. The city of Urbana is no exception to this. You never know when an innocent object might be injured or a banana peel thrown on the sidewalk. A fortuneteller might approach you to tell about a drainage or sewer connection in your future. There is even the possibility that bees might harass you after coming out of your beekeeping neighbor’s yard. What does the law say about all of this? All of these scenarios and more are covered in the Code of Urbana, Illinois – 1954. 

Chapter 17: Library
Sec 17.4. Mutilating, etc., books, etc.

“It shall be unlawful for any person to willfully or maliciously deface, destroy, mutilate, or injure any book, pamphlet or paper belonging to the public library.”
This is a great opportunity to mention that The Urbana Free Library does not condone the injuring of library materials of any kind. That is why this our favorite law.
Current code: Sec. 13-4. – Mutilating, etc., books, etc.

Chapter 21: Offenses – Miscellaneous
Sec. 21.7. Bees

“Any person who shall harbor or keep bees within the city in such a manner as to permit them to leave the premises of their owner or keeper and annoy, molest, or injure other people in the neighborhood or community, shall be subject to the penalties set out in section 1.6 of this code.”
Current: This code does not currently exist.
Sec. 21.18. Fortunetelling, etc. – Prohibited
“Any person who shall obtain money or property from another by holding himself out as skilled in fortunetelling by means of card reading, palmistry, clairvoyancy, astrology, seership, spirit mediumship, or any crafty science, or by any other devices or practices whereby money is obtained from the general public on the pretense of the exercise of occult or psychic powers, shall be guilty of a misdemeanor…”
Current: This code does not currently exist.

Chapter 28: Sewers and Drains
Sec. 28.1. Connections – Generally

“No person shall connect any sewers or drains to any other sewers or drains without first obtaining a permit from the commissioner of public works and paying him a connection fee of one dollar…”
Current code: Sec. 24-23. - Permit—Required; fee.

Chapter 30: Streets and Sidewalks
Sec. 30.3. Placing or throwing banana peels, etc., on sidewalks

“Whoever shall throw, cast, or lay or place on any sidewalk in the city, the rind or peel of any orange, banana, apple or other fruit, shall be subject to the penalties set out in section 1.6 of this code.”
Current: Sec. 20-303. - Depositing injurious substances on right-of-way.

For those interested, current City of Urbana Code can be found here.

Shalini Smith
Archives Assistant