Wilkinson Scrapbook Article #40

This article from William Wilkinson’s scrapbook “One Hundred Great and Near-Great Events, Person and Places in Rochester History” (1947) he mentions a law that was passed to deal with increasing amount of human waste in the City of Rochester. This is the kind of thing that they don’t talk about in history classes in school .


Penal Ordinance — Passed November 11, 1862.

The Common Council of the City of Rochester do ordain as follows: All Owners and keepers of hotels, taverns, banking houses, factories, arcades, warehouses and establishments where more than ten persons are habitually gathered or employed, within said city, shall cause to be constructed on their respective premises one or more strong wooden boxes, slides or drawers, of suitable dimensions, provided with a convenient handle at each end with movable lids which may be fitted there to perfectly tight; and shall cause such boxes to be placed under the seats of their respective privies, as a substitute for vaults now in use; and shall cause such boxes to be carried away and emptied by licenses scavengers into places to be designated by the Mayor or board of health, and washed out perfectly clean, and again replaced at least once in each week from the first day of May to the first day of October in each year, under penalty of FIFTY DOLLARS for each offense.

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