I thought it’d be fun today to look at some of the laws that are still in effective in my native state of Texas. Some are really fun ones; while others kinda made me scratch my head. It’s easy to see why they were put on the books a century or two ago, but wonder why they are still there. The only thing I can figure out is that it gives writers and researchers something to think about.
Texarkana is a town divided in half, part being in Texas and part in Arkansas. I can only speak about the Texas side, but owners of horses may not ride them at night without tail lights.
In Temple, no one may ride a horse and buggy through the town square; however, they can ride their horse in the saloon. Someone asked on a social site one time if it were physically possible for a horse to climb a couple of stairs and come through a saloon with a rider on his back. From my own personal experience, as an observer, not as a rider … yes! Right in the front door and out the back! Maybe the law isn’t enforced, but it makes for a great story. Also, in Temple, cattle thieves may be hanged on the spot. I think if one were to check county by county they’d find that law still there for most of Texas.
It’s illegal to milk another person’s cow.
Here are some laws that I found specifically in towns and counties in the Texas Panhandle.
In Borger, you aren’t allowed to throw feather dusters, whips or quirts (riding crop) of any kind; while in Clarendon, it is illegal to dust any public building with a feather duster.
It is against the law in Lefors to take more than three swallows of beer at any time while standing. So much for standing at the bar and drinking, but if you have a bar stool, it’s okay. The picture is of cowboys standing at the bar in the famous Equity Bar in Old Tascosa.
Down in Austin, wire cutters can not be carried in your pocket. It is still illegal to shoot a buffalo from the second story of a hotel. This is a law that I think is pretty much self-explanatory … the wire cutters, not shooting buffalo. I guess you can shoot them from the front stoop, but apparently, a marksman has the advantage if they are on the second floor.
One of my favorite, in Port Arthur obnoxious odors may not be emitted while in an elevator.
In Abilene, it is illegal to idle or loiter anyplace within the corporate city limits for the purpose of flirting or mashing. Mashing? So you cain’t mash your taters ‘cause it’s considered flirtin’?
While in San Antonio it’s illegal for both sexes to flirt or respond to flirtation using the eyes and/or hands. As a writer of romance, my mind is going wild!
In Kingsville, there is a law against two pigs doing “you know what” on the city’s airport property. Shame on you pigs anyway!
In El Paso, churches, hotels, halls of assembly, stores, markets, banking rooms, railroad depots, and saloons are required to provide spittoons “of a kind and number to efficiently contain expectorations into them”. My mind wouldn’t even let me go there.
It is illegal in Houston to sell Limburger cheese on Sunday.
Now this one’s been around a while. In Mesquite, a town in the Dallas/Fort Worth area, it is illegal for children to have unusual haircuts. That one could be used today for sure.
I’m gonna leave you with one thought. While this isn’t a law, when I was growing up we thought it was. When in Texas if you order a Coke, you better specify whether you want a Dr. Pepper, Root Beer or 7Up, because all soft drinks, or pop and sodas as it’s called in some parts of the country, are referred to as Cokes!
Do you have any quirky laws in your city or state?