Sunday dancing ban may be lifted in Alexandria

Fairly soon, you may be able to dance in Alexandria, Minn., on Sunday.

The City Council has unanimously voted to take the first step to rescind a 1992 ordinance banning dancing on Sunday, the Alexandria Echo Press reports.

The ordinance targeted public dances with cover charges and, in addition to the Sunday ban, made it illegal for prostitutes and drunks to attend public dances anytime.

I haven’t yet been able to find what chaos was taking place in Alexandria in 1992 that prompted city officials to ban the dancing. I turn to our Douglas County readers for help.

  • jon

    Must have been some common verbage at the time, new brighton has similar statutes…

    Sec. 5-57.
    http://www.newbrightonmn.gov//wp-content/uploads/2016/09/Chapter-5.pdf

    Ban on intoxication and prostitution:
    “No person to whom a permit has been issued shall allow in any public dancing place any intoxicated person, any prostitute, any person of known immorality, or any unmarried person under the age of sixteen years who is not accompanied by a parent or guardian, nor any unmarried person between the ages of sixteen and eighteen unless such person is accompanied by a parent or guardian or presents a written consent of a parent or guardian to the Officer in charge of the dance. Such written consent shall be retained by the Officer. ”

    Ban on sundays:
    ” No public dance may be held or conducted between the hours of one o’clock a.m. and twelve o’clock a.m. on Sunday or between the hours of one o’clock a.m. and six o’clock a.m. on other days. The City Council may further restrict the hours of such dances at the time of issuance of a permit. (Code of 1966; Ord. No. 433, 8-29-78; Ord. No. 556, 12-8-87; Code of 1988; Code of 2001) ”

    Oh, and “perfect lighting” is required in the dance too…
    “Every public dancing place shall be brightly illuminated while in public use and dancing therein while the lights are extinguished, dimmed, or turned low, so as to give imperfect illumination is prohibited.”

    I do not know when that was put into the municipal code… but from the second one I’d guess somewhere between 1966 and 2001…

    • jon

      Also have a law prohibiting the possession and sale of narcotics at bowling alleys… (same link as above)

      “No operator of a bowling alley or employee of such operator shall sell or possess, or knowingly allow any person in the bowling alley to sell or possess narcotics. The sale or possession of narcotics shall not be allowed at a bowling alley. (Code 1966; Code of 1988; Code of 2001)”

      Though no mention of not being able to sell or possess narcotics at a dance hall………..

      • RBHolb

        Can you dance at a bowling alley?

        • jon

          I see no reason why not… provided the lighting is not “imperfect” and there are no prostitutes or intoxicated individuals, and no one who is unwed under the age of 16 without a parent, or unwed between the ages of 16 and 18 without a parent present, or a permission slip from their parents, that the Hvac is up to city standards, that the dance doesn’t take place during a restricted time period, and you get a permit from the city no more than 1 year in advance.

          • RBHolb

            The Hvac has to be up to standards? Never mind, then.

          • jon

            Not just Building standards, but moral standards…

            “No permit may be issued to any place … Which the City Council determines is not properly ventilated and equipped with necessary toilets, washrooms, and lighting, or to any place which is likely to be come a public nuisance or
            detrimental to public morals. “

          • X.A. Smith

            It’s pretty simple, actually. I don’t know what the fuss is about.

        • Joseph

          You can totally dance at a bowling alley! ;D

          https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oIYQqWWJzHU

  • jon

    Looks like the ban on dancing was MN state law back at least as far as ’49. 617.42-54
    https://www.revisor.mn.gov/statutes/?id=617&year=1949
    Can’t find the statues from prior to 49 in my searches…

    but was repealed in 1989 (after being renumbered for 624.42-54 in the ~60’s)
    https://www.revisor.mn.gov/laws/?id=10&year=1989&type=0

    And I guess cities took it upon themselves to re-enact the same rules.

    Edt:
    Alright found it going back as far as 1913 in the state law…
    https://www.revisor.mn.gov/statutes?id=98&year=1913

    Edit #2:
    “Dance Hall Bill Passes House, 3 Votes Against No Moonlight Dances in Public Halls Under New Measure.” –Star tribune, April 5, 1913
    https://www.newspapers.com/newspage/180751592/

  • Jay Sieling

    I’m wondering if this was enacted in response to a gentlemen’s club at the edge of town around that time.
    we still have the infamous “No man is allowed to make love to his wife with the smell of garlic, onions, or sardines on his breath in Alexandria, Minnesota. If his wife so requests, law mandates that he must brush his teeth.” law on the books.

  • Al
  • ec99

    Always encouraged when secular government refrains from enforcing religious doctrine.