1921, 1924, 1937, 1949 + 

Over the years, I can’t tell you how many people have asked me if I knew where they could find the original charter for the Town of West Union.  It appears that the original copy belonging to the Town was lost many years ago.   Thanks to the hard work of Robin at City Hall, they do have a copy of the decree given by the State of VA.  The girls there are amazing.

Then while reading through some of the old newspapers that we digitized, I came upon an article giving notice of town ordinances which were passed.  The notice was submitted to the newspaper by the TOWN OF WEST UNION.  It was published in the 1924 and found it quite interesting.  I did a keyword search and found other ones throughout the years.

What is a town ordinance you might ask?  Most towns would describe ordinances as “Ordinances generally govern matters not already covered by state or federal laws.  An Ordinance is considered the most authoritative form of action taken by Town Council, and once adopted, the Ordinance becomes an established law.” 

Can Town Ordinances by changed or challenged?  The short answer is yes.  But there is a process.  You cannot simply disobey an Ordinance just because you think it is unfair or that it makes no sense.  Changing a local ordinance can be done by the local governing body, the planning agency, or by a petition of the affected property owners.  When an amendment to an ordinance is passed, it declares the specific changes made to the said ordinance.

I thought you might enjoy reading just some of them:  

“Town Ordinance.”

1921 – Stone, Coal, Brick, Lumber, Boxes, Barrels, Wagons, Paper on streets.  

“That any person or persons who shall place any Stone, Coal, Brick, Lumber, Boxes, Barrels, Wagons, Paper or burn the same, or other encumbrances or nuisances of whatever kind, on any street, alley, pavement or sidewalk in the town of West Union, on conviction thereof shall be subject to a fine of not less than One Dollar ($1.00), nor more than Five Dollars ($5.00) at the discretion of the Mayor, and every 24 hours or fraction thereof”…

No Turkeys, Geese, Chickens, Ducks, or Guineas at large on streets.

“It shall be unlawful for any person or persons from and after the first day of March 1921 to allow any turkey or turkeys, goose or geese, duck or ducks, chicken or chickens, guinea or guineas, owned or claimed by them to run at large on the streets or alleys, or on the properties of any other persons than their own, or in any way trespass upon the grounds of any other person or persons within the corporate limits of said town of West Union”…

“That it shall be unlawful for any person or persons from and after the first day of March 1921, to have and keep any hog or hogs in any sty, pen, building, or lot within the corporate limits of said town of West Union. “

1925- Cars parked on Main Street overnight

“An ordinance concerning parking of vehicles on the streets of West Union.

Section 1. It shall be unlawful to park or leave for over night storage, any automobile, wagon, or other vehicle upon the streets of West Union.

Section 2.  It shall be unlawful to park or leave any such vehicle in the nighttime upon any unlighted and dark street of said town, unless the same shall carry light or lights as shall disclose the presence thereof to persons approaching upon the streets from either direction.

Any person violating any provision of this ordinance shall, upon conviction thereof, be fined not less than $2.00 nor more than $25.00 for the first offence; and for any subsequent offense, committed after being once arraigned for an offense hereunder the fine shall be not less than $5.00 nor more than $50.00.

Fore failure to pay any fine and costs imposed hereunder, the offender may be committed to jail for not exceeding ten (10) days, or until such fine and costs be paid.

The foregoing ordinance will be hereafter strictly enforced.

D.J. Cunningham, Chief”

1929 – Mayor Murphy warns 2nd time about City Ordinances

“Mayor R.A. Murphy wishes to call the publics attention to the following town ordinances:

Chickens running at large, which is against the ordinances, all chickens must be fastened in and are not allowed to run at large.

Throwing or Dumping Trash or any other rubbish on any Street or Alley is against the town ordinance.  Trash cans have been placed at convenient corners on the Main Street where small trash and papers may be deposited.

Fifteen Mile Speed Limit on and over the streets and in the corporation of West Union.  This law is being violated every day and all drivers are warned against a speed faster than fifteen miles per hour.

The above ordinances are being violated every day, and I am taking this method of warning the violators. All persons brought before me for violating the above ordinances will be fined according to law.

1934 – Closure of All Beer Dispensaries or Vendors.

At a regular meeting of the Town Council of West Union, Doddridge County, West Virginia, held on Wednesday, November 7th, 1934, the following ordinance was adopted:

Be it ordained by the Mayor and the Town Council of the Town of West Union, Doddridge County, West Virginia, that all dispensaries, or vendor’s, of beer, do close at the hour of eleven o’clock P.M. each day.

It is further hereby ordered that a copy of this ordinance be published for two successive weeks in the West Union Herald, and in the West Union Record.

J.R. DOTSON, Mayor.

1937 – No Parking Ordinance

The town council at its regular Tuesday evening meeting, February 2, 1937, adopted the following ordinance relative to the parking of cars:

That during the school period no cars are to be parked on the following streets from 7 to10 A.M. in the morning and from 2 to 5 P.M. in the evening.

Cottage Street from the Baptist Church to its intersection with Wood Street; Wood Street from the intersection of Cottage Avenue to the school property; Church Street from its intersection with Wood Street to the new street leading to the school south of the G.W. Farr residence; thence on the new street to the school grounds.


1949 – Installation of Parking Meters

Be it ordained and enacted by the Council of the Town of West Union, Doddridge County, State of West Virginia, and it is hereby ordained and enacted by the authority of the same:

SECTION 1.  The proper officers of the Town of West Union are hereby authorized and directed to enter into a contract for the leasing and installation of Parking Meters, said contract to be made subject to the conditions and in the manner provided by law, the payment of such meters and the installation thereof to be provided for solely from the receipts, funds and revenues obtained by the said Town from the operation of said Parking Meters without in any manner obligating the said Town of West Union to pay for same from any other source.

(The following section tells us where the meters were originally designed to be placed.)


After the installation of said Parking Meters, it shall be unlawful for the owner or operator of any motor or other vehicle to park such vehicle between the hours of Eight A.M. and Six o’clock P.M. on any day, except Sundays and Legal Holidays and from eight A.M. and nine o’clock P.M. on Saturdays, for more than three hours at any one time upon positions of the streets herein described and designated as Parking Meter Zones:

Main Street, between West End Railroad Crossing and East End Railroad Crossing.

Cottage Street, between Main Street and Court Street.

Columbian Street from Railroad to Court Street.

Court Street, between Cottage and Church Streets, subject to the exceptions herein set forth.  Until Meters are actually installed in the parking zones herein before described the parking of cars in said zones, or that part of the zone in which parking meters are not installed, shall be limited to such parking time as has been fixed by other ordinances of the Town Council…”

Space does not allow for the entire notice, but the following excerpt tells us the coins used, how they are to be used, etc.

“The parking meters, when installed and properly operated, shall be so adjusted so that one-cent coins and five-cent coins may be deposited at any time throughout the three-hour range of the meters, each one-cent coin permitting the vehicle to be parked for a period of twelve minutes, and each five-cent coin permitting the vehicle to be parked for a period of sixty minutes.  If such vehicle shall remain parked in any such parking space for such length of time that the meter shall indicate by a proper signal that the lawful parking period has expired, such vehicle shall be considered as parking overtime, and the parking of a vehicle overtime shall be a violation of this ordinance…”

E.M. NUTTER, Mayor.

J.P. SUMMERS, Recorder.

Any physician or funeral director having an office or business establishment upon any street designated a Parking Meter Zone could apply for a reserved parking space.  The monthly rental was not to exceed $5.00.

God Bless

Patricia Richards Harris

Doddridge County Historical Society

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