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Jim Kershner’s This Day in History


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From our archives, 100 years ago

Spokane was waging war on the White Plague.

That’s what people called tuberculosis, one of the most serious public health issues of the time. The state Board of Health opened its “tuberculosis exhibit” at the Spokane Armory, with the stated purpose of waging war on this lung disease, also called consumption. A five-day roster of speakers was scheduled.

The titles of some of the Spokane lectures reflected the widespread belief that it was spread in the nation’s slums: “The Care of the City Poor” and “The Rural School: The Salvation of the Physically Defective City Child.”

Other lectures were titled “Outdoor Life for Children” and “Parks and Playgrounds,” because many believed that vigorous outdoor exercise prevented the disease. This was, in fact, one of the arguments in favor of the upcoming $1 million parks bond issue, which Spokane was preparing to vote on.

An effective treatment and cure would not be developed until the 1940s.

Also on this date

(From the Associated Press)

1800: Congress approved a bill establishing the Library of Congress. … 1898: Spain declared war on the United States after rejecting America’s ultimatum to withdraw from Cuba. (The United States responded in kind the next day.)

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