188 Mass. 348 (1905), Com. v. Boston Advertising Co.

Citation188 Mass. 348, 74 N.E. 601
Opinion Judge[74 N.E. 602] BARKER, J.
Attorney[74 N.E. 601] M. J. Sughrue, First Asst. Dist. Atty., for the Commonwealth. Jos. H. Soliday, for defendant.
Case DateJune 20, 1905
CourtSupreme Judicial Court of Massachusetts

Page 348

188 Mass. 348 (1905)

74 N.E. 601




Supreme Judicial Court of Massachusetts, Suffolk.

June 20, 1905


Page 349

[74 N.E. 601] M. J. Sughrue, First Asst. Dist. Atty., for the Commonwealth.

Jos. H. Soliday, for defendant.


[74 N.E. 602] BARKER, J.

The complaint upon which the defendant was found guilty was for a violation of the rules and regulations made by the metropolitan park commission under St. 1903, p. 121, c. 158. The act charged was maintaining a business sign on land near enough to the Revere Beach Parkway to render the words of the sign plainly visible to the naked eye of persons in the parkway. It appears that the sign was an advertisement of a household

Page 350

utensil. The sign board was 40 feet in width and 7 1/2 feet high with black letters on an orange ground. The capital letters were 3 feet 3 1/2 inches high and 2 feet 10 inches wide. It is not contended that the sign was indecent or immoral, or of a nature to frighten man or beast, or in any way to cause bodily injury by falling or being blown against persons or vehicles using the way. The defendant is in the advertising business. It had purchased from the owner of the land the right to maintain the sign until October 1, 1905, and had been paid to keep up the advertisement until December 30, 1904. Its contract with the owner of the land began on October 29, 1903, and its contract to maintain the sign was made in September, 1903. The parkway was established in 1899. The rule or regulation charged to have been broken by maintaining the sign was established on August 20, 1903. The same sign had been in the same location before the establishment of the parkway, and ever since. The rule or regulation forbids the erection, maintaining, or display upon any land or the outside of any building of any commercial or business sign, poster, or advertisement within such distance of any public park or parkway in care of the commission as shall render the words, figures, or devices of the sign, poster, or advertisement plainly visible to the naked eye within the park or parkway, without the written permission of the commission; save that the rule is not to be construed to prevent the owner or occupant of land, building, or tenement from displaying or maintaining thereon one sign or advertisement for business or commercial purposes, in size not larger than 15 inches by 20 feet, and relating exclusively to the property on which it may be placed, or to the business thereon conducted, or to the person conducting the same. The statute provides that the commission, and also the officers having charge of public parks and parkways, 'may make such reasonable rules and regulations respecting the display of signs, posters or advertisements in or near to and visible from public parks and parkways entrusted to their care, as they may deem necessary for preserving the objects for which such parks and park ways are established and maintained.' St. 1903, p. 121, c. 158, § 1.

Page 351

The counsel for the prosecution asserts that public parks and parkways are created and maintained to contribute to the health and pleasure of the community. It has been said that they 'are established for the use and enjoyment of the people while seeking pleasure and recreation, as well as at other times.' No doubt the principal and...

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