Who was in Charge of Keeping Western Streets Clean?

marshall trimble ask the marshall true west magazine

Who was in charge of keeping Western streets clean?

Breht Rader
Ostrander, Ohio

Most of the time, local jail inmates could earn time on their sentence for cleaning the streets. Or, if the jail was empty, the town marshal or constable might hire a kid for a dime or quarter.

Most towns didn’t have a budget for street cleaning and it was a dirty job. You had horses, mules, dogs, cats and sometimes cows and chickens doing their business in the local thoroughfares. And when it rained, it was a real mess. Sanitation was a serious problem and the bigger the town, the bigger the problem.

Marshall Trimble is Arizona’s official historian and vice president of the Wild West History Association. His latest book is Arizona Outlaws and Lawmen; The History Press, 2015If you have a question, write: Ask the Marshall, P.O. Box 8008, Cave Creek, AZ 85327 or email him at marshall.trimble@scottsdalecc.edu.

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Marshall Trimble

Marshall Trimble is Arizona’s official historian and the Wild West History Association’s vice president. His latest book is 2018’s Arizona Oddities: A Land of Anomalies and Tamales. Send your question, with your city/state of residence, to marshall.trimble@scottsdalecc.edu or Ask the Marshall, P.O. Box 8008, Cave Creek, AZ 85327.