Chicago Chronicle, August 3, 1897
Yesterday the day the recently ordained wheel tax went into effect, 950 licenses, eighty-six were for one-horse vehicles, twenty-eight for two-horse vehicles and one for a four-horse vehicle. The rush was the greatest that has ever been encountered in a single day in the city collector’s office, and an extra staff of clerks had to be employed to issue the licenses and tags in the offices of both collector and city clerk.
The demand for bicycle tags began with the opening of the office at 9 o’clock. It was noy as great as expected, perhaps, because of the fight now pending before Judge Tuley to test the validity of the tax measure, but the clerks were kept busy. The handling of nearly 1,000 persons in six hours was no light matter. If 1,000 saloon licenses had been issued during the day the total receipts would have been $500,000, but as the amount for each license averaged less than $1 the cash showing was not large.
No Arrests Made Yet.
Wheelmen who are waiting, and do not know what to do about getting bicycle tags, need not be alarmed, as the officials say they will order no arrests made for some time. The actual date for beginning operations against delinquents has not been decided upon. At present the city collector’s staff of clerks has all it can do to take care of those who are coming in voluntarily, and has no time to waste on speculation as to others. Those who applied for licenses yesterday were largely persons who wanted small numbers for the sake of being able to say they were among the first to get tags, and the collector feels assured the real rush will come on when the courts decide the validity of the ordinance.
The first man to appear at the bicycle license window was Charles E. Carlson of 1283 North Center street. He demanded license and tag 1, but was told Mayor Harrison had that number, and also that 110 numbers had already been issued on advance applications. He had to be satisfied with No. 111. Fred Lindh was next at the window, receiving No. 112, and J. and John H. Hibbler were given the two numbers following.
List of the First 100.
The first 100 bicycle licenses and tags to be issued were as follows:
How the Tag Reads.
The license certificate issued with each tag reads this way:
On the back of each license certificate the ordinance is printed in full, so that a wheelman possessed of a certificate and tag may know precisely to what regulations he is subject and to what rights he is entitled.
Many prominent wheelmen came into the office in the course of the day, either to pay the license fee or to inquire whe the ordinance will be enforced and whether or not violators will be subject to the penalties therein provided, “Baby Bliss,” the most prominent of all fat riders, was on hand early, but he had to be satisfied with a larger number than he wanted. Many bicycle girls also joined in the rush and took their places in the line to await their turn at the window. Four clerks were kept busy from 9 o’clock until closing time, 4:30, issuing the receipts from the collector’s office and giving out the certificates and the tags from the city clerk’s office.
There was hardly so much of a rush for vehicle licenses, as there is more money involved for permits for that class and persons who own buggies, wagons and trucks and use them privately want to know whether the law is constitutional or not before they invest in tags and licenses.
Tags for One-Horse Vehicles.
These secured the first twenty-five tags issued for one-horse vehicles:
For Two-Horse Conveyances.
The first twenty-five licenses for two-horse conveyances were as follows:
The only license for a four-horse vehicle went to C. H. Phelps, and he paid $5.50 for it.
Deputy Collector Senff helped City Clerk Loeffler with the work yesterday, and this is what he says to wheel riders who are wondering whether they will be arrested or not:
- The police have not been instructed to arrest persons who fail to comply with the terms of the ordinance. That will come later on when we have finished with those who are willing to pay without questioning the validity of the measure.
The assurance was also given that in the event of the ordinance being declared illegal all money paid in under it would be promptly refunded.