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Curfew

law, bell, boys, oclock and ordinance

CURFEW, ker'fii, also CURFEU, from the. French couvrir, to cover, and feu, fire. The ringing of a bell at nightfall, originally de signed as a signal to the inhabitants to cover their fires, extinguish lights and retire to rest. The practice is said to have been instituted by William the Conqueror, in all probability as a .safeguard against fire, but the English in early days regarded the curfew as a badge of servi tude. Originally the hour set for the ringing of the curfew bell was 8 o'clock,. but it was also rung at 9 o'clock. The bell in each village or community which tolled the curfew became known as the curfew-bell. In certain parts of rural England the custom is still kept of ring ing a bell at 9 o'clock.

The curfew bell was introduced into the United States early in the but without regularity of practice. About 1880 Col. Alexan der Hogeland, who has been called "the father of the curfew-law," introduced an ordinance in Omaha, Neb., compelling youths to absent themselves from steamboat landings, railroad stations and low variety shows. The curfew ordinance, somewhat changed and modified, was adopted in 1894 at Lincoln, Neb. The term curfew-law has since been given to all laws intended to keep young people off the streets after a certain hour, generally 9 o'clock at night. In 1894 at the National Convention of the Boys' and Girls' Home Employment Asso ciation in Indianapolis, the adoption of curfew ordinances was urged in view of the great increase in crime among children. Since that time the law has been generally enforced in over 3,000 cities and towns in this country. The officials of many of these towns report a de crease of 80 per cent in the arrest of boys and young under the provisions of the law, and former objections to the curfew have ceased.

In 1898, a concensus of opinion was taken in 300 towns where the curfew law was in oper ation and all reports showed that there was a decided improvement in the youth morally and socially.

The curfew law, in general use, provides that all children under 15 years of age shall not be on the streets at night after 9 P.M. in summer and 8 P.M. in winter, without the writ ten consent of their parents or guardians. The law has been endorsed by city officials, com mercial associations, school boards and boards of trade in various sections of the country. The enforcement of the law has largely reduced the number of commitments to reform schools as is illustrated at the State Reform School at Boonville, Mo. During two years prior to the adoption of the curfew ordinance at Kansas City, Mo., 47 boys were sent to the reform school while for two years after the adoption of the law only 17 boys were committed from Kansas City. The ordinance has been recog nized as a crime-reducer, child protector and home builder. Benjamin Harrison called the curfew.law, "the most important municipal regu lation for the protection of the children of American homes, from the vices of the street, of the present century." koo-re-lcan'chi, the splen did Temple of the Sun, built by the Incas in Cuzco (q.v.), Peru, on the site now occupied by the church of San Domingo.