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Jim Kershner’s This Day in History

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From our archives, 100 years ago

The 1910 appearance of Halley’s comet was coming to a close, and a certain Adolph Olson of Linden, Idaho (east of Moscow), said the comet’s tail was poised to usher in “the kingdom of heaven.”

“The readers of your paper are hereby notified that Halley’s comet will have the same effect on the human family as a man who is thundering ‘fire’ to a great audience in a theater,” Olson wrote.

He said it would cause “great panic and bewilderment.” And when the “comet’s tail strikes our earth – about May 17, 11 o’clock p.m. – a loud whisper will be heard.”

At which point the Earth would be “destroyed by fire.”

The Spokane Daily Chronicle of May 18, 1910, failed to mention any such cataclysm.

From the divorce beat: The wife of a Spokane bank vice president filed for divorce on the grounds that he treated his wife and six kids “as absolute strangers” and failed to support them.

The man’s worth? At least $1 million.

Also on this date.

(From the Associated Press)

1792: The New York Stock Exchange had its origins as a group of brokers met under a tree on Wall Street. … 1954: The U.S. Supreme Court unanimously struck down racially segregated public schools in its Brown v. Board of Education of Topeka decision. … 2004: Massachusetts became the first state to allow legal same-sex marriages.