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Jim Kershner’s This day in history

From our archives, 75 years ago

A total of 17,000 people in Spokane County in 1935 were on state “relief,” or what we would today call welfare.

That was up about 700 people from 1934, despite what The Spokesman-Review called some “business improvement” as the county dug out of the Great Depression.

The paper speculated that relief rolls were continuing to swell because most new private-sector jobs were “not going to those on relief, but to the unemployed who have managed to stay off relief.”

Yet the paper said that help was on the way. The new federal Works Progress Administration was promising to provide large numbers of jobs, which would reduce the “employable” relief rolls to near zero, although there would always be a certain number of people who were not able to work.

Meanwhile, the relief rolls in surrounding counties were far lower than Spokane’s, mainly because it was harvest time. In Adams County, only five families were on relief. In Whitman County, only three.

From the movie beat: Spokane’s Orpheum Theater was presenting an entire evening of movies starring one of the world’s biggest celebrities: Mickey Mouse. The Orpheum said it was devoting its entire bill to “the mincing mouse and his mate.”

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