By late summer of 1881, buildings had sprung up along the train tracks in an area nestled along the Heart River known as Pleasant Valley Siding. After the establishment of a post office in October, H.L. Dickinson returned with his family from Moria, NY and purchased land immediately west of the tiny settlement. The settlement grew into a village and the years passed.

For 18 years the village remained relatively communal in nature until the eve of the new century witnessed the village of Dickinson pass its first official ordinance in 1899.

What was so important that an ordinance was needed?

The matter centered on who could and could not sell liquor in the village. Oddly enough, within a month of its first ordinance, nine additional ordinances would be passed by the village board of trustees, including the outlining of punishments for residents found to be intoxicated in public within the village.

Today we present the city’s first and ninth ordinances, as preserved in the original documents, for readers to peer through the veil of time and look upon the founding documents of the city of Dickinson.

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Dickinson’s Ordinance #1:

An ordinance regulating the sale of liquid drinks within the Village of Dickinson

Be it ordained by the Board of Trustees of the Village of Dickinson:

Section 1: Any person or persons, company or corporation, desiring, within this village, now or hereafter while this ordinance shall be in force, to engage in the business of dispensing liquid drinks or keeping a place commonly resorted to for the purpose of drinking, shall first procure license therefor.

Section 2: Said license shall be issued by the clerk of said village when so directed by the Board of Trustees, and such license before taking effect shall be attested by the President of the Board.

Section 3: The said license shall be issued for three months upon payment in advance of the sum of twenty five dollars per month, which sum previous to the application therefor, shall by the applicant be paid into the village treasury.

Section 4: Said license may be removed at the expiration of three months by an endorsement thereon to that effect, made by the village treasurer, upon payment to him of the sum of seventy five dollars in advance.

Section 5: The sums of money received from said sources by said treasurer, shall be covered into the General Fund of said village at the beginning of each quarter.

Section 6: This ordinance shall be in force and effect from and after its passage and approval.

Passed and approved

November 13th, 1899

Signed President Pro Tempore

On December 1, 1899 the board of trustees passed their ninth ordinance in less than a month. This ordinance dealt with punishment for being drunk in public.

Dickinson’s Ordinance #9

An ordinance punishing persons being found intoxicated within the village of Dickinson.

Be it ordained by the Board of Trustees of the Village of Dickinson:

Section 1: Any person in a state of intoxication and drunkenness, who shall be found lounging about any public place or building, or wandering about the village, in who shall be creating any noise or disturbance, shall upon conviction thereof before the village Justice of the Peace, be fined in a sum of not less than five (5) dollars, nor more than twenty five (25) dollars, and in default of payment, shall be committed pursuant to law.

Section 2: It is hereby made the duty of the village [illegible] to arrest, with or without process therefor, any person found violating section 1 of this ordinance.

Passed Dec. 1st 1899

Approved Dec. 2nd 1899

Signed A. J. Crowl

President, Board of Trustees

It appears from the issuance of the two ordinances in such quick succession, and the feeling of obligation to enact such ordinances, that Dickinson was suffering from rampant alcohol related issues.