'Thou Shalt Not . . .'

If you want to build a bonfire on Massachusetts Avenue, better think twice before applying the match. There's a law against it.

Investigation of ordinance lists in Cambridge City Hall reveals that the city has an interesting variety of prohibitive legislation.

The majority of these laws are rather old, dating back to the late 1880s. Under a 1893 statute, for instance, no goats, sheep, domestic fowl, swine, horses, oxen, or cows are allowed to ream at large through the streets.

As a matter of fact, a great deal of space is devoted to what may and may not be done on the streets. It seems that Cantabridgians had trouble with reads and alloys long before Lamont construction necessitated Quincy Street pavement tearing.

Ice, hair, and mud may not be thrown into the street; you can't beat a carpet or tie a horse to a tree on any public ground. Even gambling is covered by these ancient rules. No person, according to one ordinance, may expose a gaming table of any kind in any lane, alley, or street.


No Loiterers Allowed

Winter sports enthusiasts cannot coast down a street on a sled without the mayor's permission, and even pedestrians are restricted. "No person," says one law, "shall remain for a longer time than 20 minutes upon a sidewalk in such a manner as to obstruct the free passage of foot travelers," and anyone who is still lottering five minutes after being told to leave by a policeman, is liable for arrest.