Sunday, August 18, 2013

How It Was Done in 1886

John Mason reports in today's Register-Star on the Common Council's confabulations about how to achieve uniform, walkable sidewalks throughout city: "City mulls sidewalk repair." Given that ongoing discussion among our current aldermen, the discovery today of this resolution, passed by the Common Council on April 29, 1886, and reported in the Hudson Daily Evening Register on April 30, 1886, seemed serendipitous.

Because the text of the resolution is hard to read, it is transcribed below. Alderman Barry represented the First Ward, but it seems he may also have been chair of the Street Committee. Most of the locations cited are in the First Ward, but the numbering of lots and houses did not change until 1888-1889, so it's possible one or two of the offending lots were in the Third Ward.
Resolved, The owner or owners, occupant or occupants of the respective lots hereinafter specified, are hereby required and directed to lay, relay, or repair, pave or repave, grade or regrade the sidewalk and gutter in front of said lots, respectively, and where required to pave or repave it shall be with four feet flag in the center and hard brick on the sides, and to set or reset the curb and lay or relay the gutter adjoining the sidewalk, as follows: The owner or owners, occupant or occupants, respectively, of lot on west side of South First street, between Union street and Cherry alley, and lots Nos. 51, 101, and 125 Union street, to repave walk and reset curb; lot on west side of Third street, between Union and Partition, to reset curb and relay gutter; lots Nos. 112, 110, 106, 104, 102, and 80 Allen street, to repave walk and reset curb, under the direction of the City Surveyor on lines and a grade to be given by him, within thirty days from the time of the service of a copy of this resolution upon said owners or occupants, respectively, in pursuance of sub-division 5, section 33 of the charter of the city of Hudson.


  1. Maybe this is naive, but it's not intentionally disengenuous: Do Common Council Resolutions have a life term or an expiration? Does a Resolution remain in effect until it's undone? How is a Resolution undone?
    It seems that, on so many levels, we're perpetually re-inventing the wheel over issues which have been addressed successfully by our forebearers. Shouldn't we be advancing and evolving as a municipality instead of re-visiting ad nauseum the same damn things over and over? Is it a matter of enforcement (see above "sub-division 5, section 33" of the City Charter...what happened to this part of the City Charter?) ?

    1. Clown Town--This is still in the city code. I don't know if the number of the subsection changed, if the Register got it wrong in 1886, or if I misread the numeral, but C33-3 reads: "It shall in all cases be the duty of the owner of every lot or piece of land in said City to keep his sidewalks adjoining his lot or piece of land in good repair, and to remove and clean away all snow and ice and other obstructions from such sidewalk. Such owner and each of them shall be liable for any injury or damage by reason of omission, failure or negligence to make, maintain or repair such sidewalk, or to remove snow, ice or other obstructions therefrom, or for a violation or nonobservance of the ordinances or local laws relating to making, maintaining and repairing sidewalks and the removal of snow, ice and other obstructions from sidewalks."

    2. Along with C33-3 (maybe that "5" in 1886 is a "3"?)
      There is also from Charter ,Department of Public Works
      Subsection C22-18 Repair of Sidewalks:Notice,collection of costs
      Repair of sidewalks.
      So is it seems that this long term lack of enforcement is from DPW

      Although the types of materials required have been updated...the Charter & Code are pretty clear on

      Subsection A330-1 Curb and Sidewalk
      and in Code; Chapter 266 Streets and Sidewalks
      266-2 Sidewalk construction standards
      266-3 Sidewalk specifications to be obtained.

      One thing that property owner's should be aware of, although the repair of poor conditions of their sidewalk may not have been enforced by City...

      the liability of owner, mentioned above by Gossips in C33-3, most likely will,
      if someone is injured and sues as a result.