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Looking Back January 23

Photo by Vicki Harris

Photo by Vicki Harris

Each week Albany Herald researcher Mary Braswell looks for interesting events, places and people from the past. You can contact her at (229) 888-9371 or

As entrepeneurs prepare to renew business licenses, by way of computer in many cases, in the city of Albany for 2011, here is a look back at the cost of doing business in the city in 1892.

Annual Business Ordinance (Jan. 20, 1893)

Be it ordained by the Mayor and Council of the city of Albany, and it is hereby ordained by authority of the same, that the following license or special tax shall be levied and collected in the city of Albany, for the support of the city government for the year 1893:

* Each retailer of spirituous liquors, to be licensed by the year only ... $200.

* Each wholesale dealer in malt or fermented liquors and each person selling by the crate or package shall be deemed a wholesale dealer ... $50

* Each hotel ... $25

* Each boarding house taking transient boarders by the day... $10

* Each restaurant ... $25

* Each lunch house not charging over 25 cents per meal ... $10

* Each huckster stand on the street ... $40 annually or $5 per day

* Each peddler of ground peas, fruits or other items, peddling them around the streets (country produce brought in by one producer exempted) ... $10

* Billiard or pool tables, for each and every table set up and used for profit, directly or indirectly ... $10

* Each bowling or ten-pin alley ... $15

* Each shooting gallery kept for profit ... $15

* Each skating rink ... $15

* Each velocipede rink ... $15

* Each two-horse dray ... $25 Each shall be allowed to charge 50 cents for each full load and 10 cents per bale for cotton.

* Each one or two-horse vehicle conveying passengers for pay and each shall not be allowed to charge passengers more than 25 cents for each single trip within the city limits or more than $1 per hour ... $10

* Each livery stable keeper or firm engaging in the business of selling or feeding or keeping horse, mules, carriages, buggies and vehicles for hire, not to include drays or wagons in competition with licensed drays or wagons ... $50

* Each pawnbroker ... $100

* Each cotton warehouse ...$60

* Each dancing master or mistress ...$10

* Each circus or variety show performing under canvases or parading the streets of the city ... $300 each day

* Each side show ... $50 each day

* Each flying jenny ... $25 each day

* Negro minstrels, transient theatricals, jugglers and other like exhibitions shall pay a license tax to be fixed at the discretion of the Mayor.

* Each person drumming or soliciting trade, except in front of their regular place of business, and then only to the middle of the street in front of the same,shall pay a tax of $300.

* Vendue masters or auctioneers, permanent or transient ... $250 with Council reserving the right to issue licenses for less time than a year at their discretion, or for less amount, given the $250 license has not been issued.

* Each person or firm selling or delivering fertilizer or having an office in the city ...$25

* Each butcher stand for the sale of green meats ... $15

* Each ice cream saloon or soda fountain ... $5

* Each person or firm dealing in carriages, wagons or buggies, except for those built at home ... $50

* Each barber shop keeper shall pay for each chair... $2.50

* Each photographer or Daguerrean artist... $10 or $2.50 per day

* Each person, firm or corporation selling ice or delivering the same in the city ...$10

* Each plumber doing business or plumbing work and shall be required to give bond, in the city ... $25

* Each piano tuner ... $5

* Each building and loan association ...$25

* Each cotton seed oil mill ... $100

* Each person or firm delivering coal in the city shall pay a license tax of $25. This shall also apply to persons delivering coal for parties who have not paid said license.

* Each junk shop ... $25

* All dealers selling fish by the package or barrel shall be considered wholesale dealers and be charged a license fee of $50. This does not apply to local fishermen or fish caught by them

* Each insurance agent shall pay for each company represented by him the fee of $10 per company.

* Each bakery or candy manufacturer ... $10

* Each bill poster doing business or posting bills in the city ... $25

That the above licenses shall be issued for the year only, and not for any fractional part of the year, except where otherwise stated in this ordinance.

Be it ordained by the mayor and council of the city of Albany, that any person who shall engage in any business for which a license is required, before obtaining such license in compliance with the ordinance or ordinances of the city, shall be fined a sum not to exceed double the sum of the license or be imprisoned in the guard house or work on the streets not exceeding three months or both at the discretion of the mayor.

Any or all of the above licenses may be revoked at any time by the Mayor and Council.

-Y.C. Rust

Clerk of Court