Ordinances from the Past

Published In:
Ypsilanti Gleanings, Summer 2002,
Summer 2002
Original Images:

As time goes on, concerns of local government are the same but the treatment changes. Ypsilanti government in 1877 was concerned about obscenity just as we are now concerned about adult bookstores.

At present, equal rights for everyone is our focus. In 1877, local government legislated to separate women from what was considered then undesirable jobs.

Mr. Lambert Barnes was a resident of 220 North Huron and served as mayor signing the following ordinances into law.


The Common Council of the City of Ypsilanti ordain:

Section 1. That no retail dealer of spirituous and intoxicating liquors, or of brewed, malt and fermented liquors, within the limits of the city of Ypsilanti, shall employ in his saloon, bar, or place of business, any female, excepting his wife or daughter, as clerk, servant, agent or waiter, or shall suffer any female, excepting as aforesaid, to wait upon his customers, or assist in any manner in the sale of such liquors.

Section 2. No proprietor of any saloon, bar or place where spirituous and intoxicating liquors, or brewed, malt and fermented liquors are sold at retail, within the limits of said city, shall suffer any female to be present at, or take part in any game, sport, diversion, theatricals, entertainment, minstrel show, or varieties, had or held in his saloon, bar or place where such liquors are sold.

Section 3. No female, excepting the wife or daughter of the proprietor, shall act as clerk, servant, agent or waiter, or take part in any game, sport, diversion, theatricals, entertainments, minstrel show, or varieties, at any place in the city of Ypsilanti, where spirituous, malt or fermented liquors are sold.

Section 4. Any person violating any provision of this ordinance, shall be punished by a fine of twenty-five dollars, to be imposed by the justice of the peace trying the offender. And on failing to pay said fine forthwith, shall be imprisoned in the Detroit house of correction for the term of ninety days.

Section 5. This ordinance shall be published by the city clerk one week in the Ypsilanti Commercial.

Made and passed in common council at Ypsilanti, this fifteenth day of January, A. D. 1877.


Frank Joslin, City Clerk