News of the Day

In the May 28th, 1922, edition of the Charleston, West Virginia, Daily Mail were several important stories dealing with the recent battles between miners and Logan County officials, including news of the acquittal of William Blizzard, UMWA sub-district president, on a charge of treason, and John L. Lewis’ prediction of a coal shortage if the mine owners didn’t allow workers to re-enter the mines. Pretty serious stuff.

But that wasn’t all that was reported that day.

The other big front page news was a report that the new Charleston City Code didn’t include a “Blue Law” preventing businesses from opening on Sundays. Fairly common throughout the coalfields until very recently, these laws were intended to encourage families to attend church.

The publisher of the code reported that officials hadn’t turned over any blue code ordinance for publication. The Mayor, Grant P. Hall, countered that he didn’t know why that ordinance hadn’t been included, and that he knew for a fact that a Sunday closing law had definitely been passed in Charleston, but didn’t know why it hadn’t been delivered to the publisher.

Some things that did make it into the city code included a couple regarding bicycles. “No bicycle shall be allowed to proceed in any street of the city by inertia, or momentum, with the feet of the rider removed from the pedals.” No coasting without those feet firmly on those pedals, folks! Also was this: “no rider of a bicycle shall remove both hands from the handlebars, or practice any trick of fancy riding in any street.”

You also couldn’t blow a whistle or ring a bell on New Year’s Day, as those devices could only be used for the purpose of calling employees to work or dismissing them from work, or to warn people of a fire.

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