Eatonville’s Chicken Ordinance of 1911

Eatonville High School chicken farm around 1914
Eatonville High School chicken farm around 1914

Roaming animals seem to have been a nuisance for Eatonville residents from the start.

Chickens at Large
In March, 1911 Eatonville passed a Chicken Ordinance, keeping folks from letting their chickens roam at large. People must not have taken the ordinance too seriously, because in February, 1913, the Clerk was instructed to publish a notice in the paper telling people when the “ordinance  to prevent chcickens running at large would be in force.” In 1947, the issue came up again.

Roaming Cows
Eatonville also had a “Horse and Cow Ordinance”. In March, 1911 the ordinance was amended to allow cows to roam during the day.

In August 1911, Mr. Rivers was up in arms because many of the cows roaming at night wore bells and were disturbing the sleep of the Eatonville citizens. A resolution was passed making these cows a public nuisance and the town’s Marshall was required to go out and notify the owners of said cows.

Information taken from History of Southeastern Pierce County.

Photo courtesy of Pat Van Eaton.

Click on image to enlarge.


5 responses to “Eatonville’s Chicken Ordinance of 1911”

  1. “In addition to the usual requirement of dog tags, other beasts of the field were given restraints. Horses had to slow down to a trot not exceeding 6 miles an hour. Cows were not to roam at night as their bells kept many awake. Chickens were prohibited from roaming town streets. The prohibition was later extended to pigs. In 1911, the marshal appointed deputies to kill all the Chinese pheasants and were allowed to shoot from Washington Ave. West to the town limits. Trespassing rabbits were fair game as well. The rats actually had bounties on their heads. Ten cents a rat to be paid after the kill was verified by the Town Clerk. The rat problem was so bad that some businesses offered incentives for killing rats. The Eatonville Theater offered a free movie ticket for each dead rat.”
    Except from Firm Foundation: The Formation of Eatonville, Wa.


    • Thanks. I wish I had a transcript from the guy who came in complaining about cow bells. And I noticed in the records that horses and vehicles has to close to 6 miles per hour. That must have been a mess during the transition of horse to car.

      The worst though . . verifying rat kills. Could there be a worse job.


  2. I think they made a TV series about the rat problem..”The Rat Patrol” HAAA :<)) I wonder what it was like cruising the gut back in those days ? Did guys ride their horses up and down Mashell Ave, looking cool ?


    • I agree. Imagining the scenes that created the ordinances is more fun than than the ordinances. Like, how on earth does your job description end up including “verifying rat kills”? 🙂


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