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Jim Kershner’s This day in history

From our archives, 75 years ago

Spokane’s Trent Alley neighborhood was decorated in 1935 with “flags and bunting” in preparation for the national convention of the Hip Sing Club, or “Tong.”

“Not so many delegates this year,” The Spokane Daily Chronicle quoted one of the Spokane organizers as saying. “Maybe 18. Maybe 20. The club poor this year.”

Ten years earlier, the convention had been held in Spokane and it included a colorful public street parade. This time, the Great Depression had taken its toll.

The organizers tried to explain to a reporter, with mixed success, exactly what the Hip Sing Club was.

“Hip Sing is like the Elks, Moose, American Legion,” said an organizer, who ran Spokane’s Mandarin Café.

“Oh, you mean, Hip Sing is a fraternal organization?” asked the reporter.

According to the story, the man just smiled, “probably marveling at the dumbness of the reporter.”

Trent Alley was Spokane’s Chinatown. Trent Alley was already past its heyday and it would soon disappear altogether. It is now covered by the parking lots of the INB Performing Arts Center, near Spokane Falls Boulevard and Washington Street.

Also on this date

(From the Associated Press)

1978: Pope John Paul I was installed as leader of the Roman Catholic Church. (He died less than a month later.)