Complaints about streets; fix them yourself

Kimberly Rubio

Assistant editor

While Uvalde residents nowadays might be quick to criticize the condition of city streets and the traffic caused by construction, in 1897 they may have been more understanding. Back then, city residents were tasked with routine street maintenance.

According to an ordinance passed on Jan. 4, 1897, it was the duty of all able-bodied males between the age of 21 and 55 to maintain roadways. The only exception was for ministers of the gospel who were “actually engaged in the discharge of the ministerial duties.”

Capable male residents worked on, repaired and leveled roadways and alleys within the city of Uvalde. No person was allowed to work more than five days per year.

According to the ordinance, a man summoned for street duty was allowed to furnish an able-bodied substitute to work in his place. The substitute had to be approved by the city marshal. According to the ordinance, the substitute must be capable of performing a reasonable amount of work.

A man summoned for duty also had the option of paying the city a $3 fee in lieu of performing labor.

According to the ordinance, the city marshal was required to give three days notice to residents either in person or by writing. The notice included the time and place a person should report for duty and the number of days that person was required to work.


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