Tag police

Platonic Kiss Is O.K. Even at Five Points Asserts Police Chief

The Constitution: Atlanta, GA

Saturday, June 21, 1913 p1

Chief James Beavers Gives Analysis of “Divine Mode of Greeting,” and Tells When It Is Alright.

“A light imprint of the lips, gentle, brief and dispassionate. A heavenly collision of the lips or the lips with the cheek.” – Chief James L. Beavers’ analysis of a kiss.

Atlanta lovers need have no fears that the kiss will soon be taboo in Atlanta. Kissing is all right, so said Chief Beavers yesterday, thus setting at rest all the reports that he was an enemy of osculation.

Since the recent arrest of an amorous couple in a cab at the Terminal station, who osculated too openly and too drunkenly, the kissing public of Atlanta has been rather dubious of the attitude of Chief Beavers.

Not the Slightest Reason.

But there was no the slightest reason. The chief is a champion of kissing—in fact, he believes in it strongly, declaring to a Constitution reporter Friday that so long as a kiss was a kiss—the genuine article passed upon by the board of censorship—it was perfectly proper anywhere, even in a taxicab.

A kiss, he said, is a divine mode of greeting. It is the sweetest of all salutations, and if folks shake hands on the street, why shouldn’t they be allowed to kiss as well?

“A platonic kiss,” the chief declared, “would be permitted in the very heart of Five Points. A couple could greet each other kissingly in a Whitehall street show window, just so long as they didn’t overdo things.

Nothing Wrong With Kiss.

“There’s nothing wrong with a kiss, the right kind of kiss, and police interference need never be feared. No policeman is going to make arrests for kissing alone. The most moral member of the ‘vice squad’ would even disapprove of an osculatory greeting.”

After which discussion the chief gave the definition of a kiss:

A light imprint of the lips, gentle, brief and dispassionate. A heavenly collision of the lips or the lips with cheek. He declared that the man and woman arrested in the cab at the Terminal station were not indulging in kissing alone. Both were intoxicated, he said, and intoxicated persons should not kiss. Their conduct was unprintable, he said, and both should have been fined. The woman, said the chief, was so drunk that she had to be sent to Grady hospital.



What! Don’t know a “Jay Walker?”

Never have seen one?

Then you have never been at Five Points, nor Whitehall and Alabama streets, or perhaps you are one yourself.

Quizz the first cop you meet, inquire of your family physician, or one of the bonesetters at any hospital, or ask the guy who holds the inquest.

This Will Be Verdict.

Some of these days coroner’s juries will return verdicts which will read: “Came to his death from ‘Jay Walking.’ ” It used to be a habit—persons who claim to be authorities on the subject say—but now it is a disease. And it’s catching, just like chickenpox, a thirst for something cold to drink—the morning after.

A traffic policeman at Five Points designated at least fifty persons who were “Jay Walkers,” or who have dangerous symptoms. And the strange part of it none of them realize it. Few have even thought of such a thing, and if you should happen to accuse them they would probably knock on your ding dong for the information.

“You can stand on this corner any busy afternoon and count nearly twice that number,” the cop declared.

“See that guy over there, well he’s a ‘Jay Walker.’ Some day there will be nothing but a grease spot here, and his family will point to the spot where daddy was last seen. He is what they call a busy business man in the story books, but he is what us cops call a nuisance, a ‘Jay Walker,’ a man who is always in his own way.

“Looker there! I told you—”

Mr. Jay Walker in Danger.

And the cop pointed to the Decatur street crossing. The “Jay Walker” had started across the street, nose pointed heavenward, and all unconscious of the fact that a lumber truck, puffing and snorting, and shrieking under the sudden pressure of the brakes, was bearing down on him. Instead of beating it for the nearest sidewalk, Mr. “Jay Walker” stops in his tracks and continues to gaze complacently at the negro washing a second story window in the opposite building.

“Can you beat that?” demanded the cop, and he hastens over to inform Mr. “Jay Walker” that the driver of the truck is entitled to about ten feet of the street.

“See that dame flirting across the street?” exclaimed the cop, pointing to a vision that looked like a rainbow shooting across Peachtree. “Well, she is a ‘Jay Walker.’ ”

“I don’t get yer, Steve—explain?”

“Well, Bo, ‘Jay Walkers’ are persons who cut across corners—dash across the streets cat-a-cornered—who have not the time to walk along the sidewalk to the proper crossing. ‘Jay Walkers’ are people who are always flirting with death—who will run right in front of a street car, an automobile, or a fire engine, and if they happen to get splattered with mud will curse the driver to a fare-the-well. And if—”

“Hold on you bonehead!” shouted the cop at a chauffeur who was about to run his motor over a group of women who stood in the center of the street to exchange greetings, “ain’t you got no respect for ladies what hold reception on the street—”

Then to the ladies—

“Misses, won’t you please move to the sidewalk and let that fathead with the ice truck go by? Thank you ever so much

“Gee, but it’s getting fierce.”




Chief of Police Beavers has at last gotten his automobile.

Like many other improvements, this one was a long time in coming, but now that it is here the machine will be called on in many emergencies and will do great service for the city. It is a touring car, capable of holding five of “Atlanta’s finest,” and is equipped with a powerful engine that will “make time” when the clear-the-way signal is given.

The demand for an automobile for the use of police officials has been insistent for months, ever since two near-riots in rapid succession in far portions of the city showed the commissioners that some means of rapid transit was badly needed. The old horse wagons are out of the question with Atlanta’s greatly enlarged area, and the automobile patrols are constantly busy. The touring car was the solution.

The chief, or captain in charge, with sufficient officers to handle a good-sized crowd, can now be gotten to any portion of the city in a few minutes’ time. Incipient troubles can be quelled and life saved, where before there would have been bloodshed for lack of authority to uphold the law. There will be no speed limit when a call is being answered.

The chief is shown at the wheel of his machine and with him are three of the men who daily protect the city.



The Edict Goes Forth from the Police Court.


An Arrest Made Yesterday Morning as a Test Case—Ruling of the Police Court Judge.

Shall the boys skate on the asphalt streets or not?

This is now a burning issue with the police authorities, an issue which was focused yesterday morning by the arrest of one of the small boy skaters, and his trial in the police court.

It is claimed by the anti-skaters that the boys are a nuisance, as they get in the way of vehicles and catch hold of wagons and carriages when going up hill. The people who are with the skaters say the boys have as much right to skate as the “bicyclists have to bike;” that it is merely a matter of choice whether a person wishes to ride on two wheels or eight wheels; and that it will be base discrimination to rule out the roller skate and still allow bicycles the free use of the asphalted thoroughfares.

Yesterday morning Bicycle Officer McCurdy arrested Earl McDaniel, one of the boys who skate on Peachtree street. The fact that it was an officer on a wheel has not been lost sight of by the skating contingency, McCurdy says he made the case to test the matter.

The youth who was laid on the sacrificial altar of a legal test appeared in the police court yesterday afternoon. He pleaded guilty to the fact that he had rolled over the asphalt of Peachtree on roller skates. But he pleaded an ignorance of any law which disallowed such a pastime.

“There has been much complaint of late,” said Officer McCurdy, “of these boys annoying those who were riding in vehicles. I have made this case in order to get the court’s ruling on the matter.”

Judge Andy made a long and close search into the mysteries of city ordinances. He finally said that the only law he could find which might reach the skaters was the ordinance prohibiting any one from blockading the streets.

“I will dismiss this case,” said the recorder, “but I wish it understood that I am inclined to be with the anti-skaters in this fight, and I will have to fine the next boy who is caught skating on the asphalt.”

This decision is a bombshell among the boys who skate on Peachtree and Washington streets. At least one hundred youths have secured roller skates to use on the two streets paved with the smooth asphalt. What will be done now that the edict has gone out from the police court cannot be said. It is possible a fight will be made in the courts to the finish.


The Constitution: Atlanta, GA – Sunday, April 19, 1896

Nearly Everybody, Young and Old, Rich and Poor, Is Riding Nowadays.

When Atlanta’s first big exposition was in progress fifteen years ago a spinster school teacher, tall and slender and elderly, was “seeing the sights” with her sister. She came from a little settlement hidden away in the mountains of Rabun county, and it was her first visit to a big city. The cotton exposition contained many marvels which excited her wonder, and she frequently expressed her surprise in the crude parlance of a mountaineer.

“Well, I’ll swow, Mandy,” she said on more than one occasion, “what will these city folks do next?”

Her greatest surprise-perhaps it would be fair to say-her greatest shock, occurred on the last day of her visit. The high bicycle was a new thing in Georgia at that time and its appearance on the streets was watched with interest by everyone. To the school teacher it was more than interesting, it was phenomenal, and at the first sight of one she clutched her sister’s arm in wild alarm and told her to “look quick and see that wheel running away with a man.”

The good lady, if she is still alive, would see about 1,200 wheels “running away” with men and women, too, if she would pay Atlanta a visit today.

The growth of the bicycle “craze,” as some people insist on calling it, has been very healthy and fairly rapid in this city of late. From December 1st there have been nearly 500 new wheels sold in Atlanta. Of this number 400 are being ridden daily by Atlanta people. There are 1,200 wheels in daily use here, which is clear evidence that bicycling is beginning to be appreciated as a healthy and enjoyable sport.

Those who think that Atlanta is leading in this innovation, however, are mistaken. Atlanta is not so far behind other cities on the bicycle question as to be ashamed of her position, but she is by no means leading the van, not even in the south. Savannah, St. Augustine and New Orleans have become thoroughly imbued with the bicycle fever, and in proportion to population they are slightly ahead of Atlanta.

If Atlanta had as many bicycles in proportion to population as Washington, New York, Boston and Chicago there would be in the neighborhood of 10,000 wheels instead of 1,200.

A bicycle salesman, one who is thoroughly posted on the bicycle situation in every city in America, said yesterday that he believed the bicycle business in Atlanta was more promising today than ever.

“The people here have just come to the full appreciation of the merits of the wheel,” he said, “and I confidently expect to see 2,000 wheels in this city at the close of the season where there are only 1,200 now. The people people are practically unanimous in indorsing the sport and society has stamped with its approval the debated question: “Shall women ride?”

Good Roads for Bicyclists.

Peachtree street is the wheelman’s delight. Pryor street is satisfying to the most fastidious. Aside from these two thoroughfares Atlanta is deficient in bicycle paths, but the suburban roads afford excellent riding. Those who have ridden long enough to become inured to a good, long tour, find a spin out to Lithia Springs or Stone Mountain enjoyable. The roadways through and around Inman Park are good. The trip to Buckhead makes a pleasing run of fourteen miles. One of the favorite bicycle paths is along the old Peachtree road and great things are expected of the road to the barracks if the government will pass the appropriation for improving it.

At present there are no large bicycle clubs here. Small parties can be seen every morning and evening when the heat of the sun is not oppressive, spinning away to the suburbs. Tourist parties from northern and eastern cities often rent wheels for an afternoon to take a better look at the Gate City and its surroundings.

It is said that preliminary steps are being taken to organize a very large club of local wheelmen who will take regular tours every evening.

Scorching Habit Condemned.

The theory that every rose has its thorns applies with as much truth to bicycling here as elsewhere. The “Scorcher” is the bete noir of the beginner’s life. As Mr. B. F. Copeland, the manager of the riding school at the Gate City Guard’s armory said yesterday: “There is nothing which so retards the growth of bicycling in this city as scorching. It would not be a bad idea if the city council would pass an ordinance prohibiting great speed within the corporate limits.”

This has been done in nearly all of the larger cities. In New York the policemen who are stationed along th Boulevard are provided with bicycles for the purpose of arresting wheelmen who go faster than the law allows. The great bicycle path from Brooklyn to Coney Island, which is said to be the finest in the world, is always patrolled by policemen in knickerbockers, who can “scorch” most of the racers when it is necessary to make an arrest. In case they cannot catch a fast racer their shrill whistle causes the policeman ahead of him to mount his wheel and when Mr. Scorcher has distanced his first follower he finds himself in the clutches of the second or third, as the case may be. It is impossible to escape and yet is surprising how many bold wheelmen will attempt it. There are at least a dozen such captures on the Brooklyn bicycle path every Sunday.

Atlanta Policemen on Bicycles.

The ladies of Atlanta are the great enemies of the scorchers. They have begun a crusade to have the habit stopped and they are firm in their determination. The chances for a bicycle squad for the Atlanta police force are good. In case the city council passes an ordinance restricting the speed on Peachtree street it will be necessary to mount the policemen who patrol that thoroughfare on bicycles in order to prevent violations of the ordinance.

Where Beginners Learn To Ride.

One of the most interesting sights to be seen in Atlanta at this season is the classes of beginners at the Columbia Bicycle academy in the Gate City Guard’s armory. There is much to arouse the mirth of the visitors, but there is little of humor to the novices themselves except when they are resting and their friends are “going through the mill.”

The beginner as a rule has the look of a wild horse who suddenly sees the approach of a locomotive for the first time. There is a glare of fright and curiosity in the eyes, which is in strange contrast with the clinched teeth and the expression of “do or die” depicted in the tightly closed mouth. The best time to see the show is from 8 to 10 o’clock at night, when the business men are taking their first lessons. Awkwardness, timidity, assumed boldness, despair and uncertain hope are illustrated as well as they could possibly be by the actions and expressions of the “first nighters.” It must be seen to be appreciated. No description can give a fair idea./

The management of the school says that the ladies learn very much more easily than the men. They are less awkward. The ladies’ classes are from 8 a. m. to 1 p. m. and 2 p. m. to 6 p. m. The ladies are also given what are known as direct lessons. When they reach a certain point in advancement and gain a little confidence they are put in charge of an instructor and taught on the street. There are many expert graduates of the school among the lady riders of the city.

Major Fitten a Graceful Wheelman.

Major John A. Fitten is one of the city’s graceful wheelmen. This is true despite the major’s 265 pounds. He flits about with ease, notwithstanding that he is a heavy weight.

He learned at the wheeling school in the Grand. It took him some time, but he learned thoroughly. His school days were attended with many hard knocks and falls, but he pulled through without any broken limbs. He is now having a huge wheel of stout frame specially manufactured for himself and in a short time he will be spinning over the city’s by-paths on his trusty charger.

Major Fitten took his lessons at the school at the early hour of 6 o’clock in the morning. Rosy from a good night’s sleep he would hie himself to the school. He would mount the wheel with the courage of a Spartan and proceed to land himself violently upon the floor some twenty feet from the starting point. Nothing discouraged, he would spring to his feet nimbly, scurry upon his vehicle and hurry away again.

He had a great rival in the person of Colonel Thornton, who also tips the scales at 265 pounds. They took lessons together and had many an exciting encounter. Their antics were the talk of the school and every pupil felt a deep personal interest in the outcome of their studies. They both graduated about the same time are now vieing with each other in the ease and grace with which they spin across the country.

The teacher, Mr. Copeland, also taught Speaker Tom Reed the mysteries of the wheel. This occurred last spring and it was not an easy task. The speaker weighs 295 pounds and he is not unlike Major Fitten in physical build. “Major Fitten is much more more agile,” said Mr. Copeland yesterday, “and handles himself much better. He learned much faster.”

Smashes a Wheel.

Jim McKeldin is one of the city’s enthusiasts. He has been riding a beautiful $125 wheel of which he is immensely proud. He was out on the asphalt with a party a few nights ago and met Major Fitten.

“You don’t know the first thing about riding,” said the major scornfully.

“I don’t, eh?” said Mr. McKeldin; “suppose you try it.” He hopped off his wheel. “Here, get up, major, and give us a lesson,” he said.

The major held back modestly. “Oh come on,” said Mr. McKeldin.

“Well, here goes,” said the major, and he made a leap for the saddle. The wheel shot gracefully forward. The pedals responded easily to the major’s expert touch. He went sailing down the asphalt as graceful as a fairy.

There was a sudden crash, and looking, Mr. McKeldin saw his wheel sink into utter ruin and collapse beneath the major’s portly form. It was not an ordinary collapse. It was an extraordinary one. The wheel did not simply break in part. It broke all to pieces, into hundreds of pieces. The seat was mashed as flat as one of Aunt Jemima’s pancakes, and the wires of the wheels were twisted into a million shapes. It was hard to tell whether it was the remains of a bicycle or a dynamo. There was no semblance of a wheel left.

Isham Daniel’s Ride.

Although Mr. Isham Daniel has laid strict injunction upon his companion not to repeat the story, it has gained general currency and I will repeat it here-the story of Isham Daniel’s swift and disastrous ride.

He took to the wheel gingerly. He did not enter into it with that conquer in-a-minute-or-die spirit. He was patient. He lacked confidence, and he wanted room. He did not like to ride on a street on which there were any other moving objects, and he always avoided cars. Cars were his pet fear.

He went out with Jim McKeldin the other afternoon late. He paced along carefully until Wilson avenue was reached. It’s a fine drop for the wheelmen down Wilson avenue to the expostion gate.

“Go it, Isham, I’ll follow,” said McKeldin.

Mr. Daniel moved forward slowly at first, his wheel gaining in celerity as he went. Presently it was moving at furious speed and the rider found his feet off the pedals and himself unable to regain control of the mad steed. At this juncture a car loomed into view, coming toward him in front. He knew for a certainty that collision with that car was inevitable. The thirty feet of space that he had on his side of the track was far too narrow to allow him to pass in safety. There was but one thing to do; he would dash into the sidewalk.

It was a startling spectacle that Mr. McKeldin looked down upon. He saw his comrade swerve violently to the right and with the force of a steam engine dash into the high curbing. The wheel stopped with a crash and was dashed to pieces, and the force of the collision lifted Mr. Daniel from his seat and planted him over in the vacant lot. He got up unhurt, glad to sacrifice a wheel as the price of his own life.

And There Are Others.

Mr. Thomas C. Erwin is also a victim of the freaks of the wheel. He was hurled from his, near Fort McPherson, last Sunday, and skated along the road on his face for a considerable distance. The experience was very damaging to the smooth contour of his face.

And there are others who are wearing bandages, poultices and plaster casts. The percentage of accidents is naturally high, considering the large number or riders there are in Atlanta. None of the sufferers from the wheel have given up, however. They are waiting to get well, when they will ride again.