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Jim Kershner’s ‘This day in history’

SUNDAY, FEB. 20, 2011

From our archives, 100 years ago

Spokane and Sandpoint police were trying to discover whether an eccentric young woman named Dora Falk, residing in the Sandpoint city hospital, was in fact a missing New York heiress named Dorothy Arnold.

Falk had escaped from a Salvation Army Rescue Home in Spokane, “clad only in a suit of underwear and a Salvation Army cloak.” She ended up in Sandpoint, where she gave police only half-coherent answers to their inquiries. She was placed in the hospital until she could “shake off her nervous spell.”

Falk had been arrested in Spokane months before on charges of “stealing a baby buggy.” She escaped from the rescue home before the trial. Some authorities believed that she was the missing heiress because she was clearly from New York and had a mirror inscribed with the initials DHA. She stoutly denied being Dorothy Arnold.

She denied even being Dora Falk. She told a reporter she was just a “chum” of Falk.

Meanwhile, the father of heiress Dorothy Arnold said he was convinced his daughter was dead.

Also on this date

(From the Associated Press)

1792: President George Washington signed an act creating the U.S. Post Office. … 1839: Congress prohibited dueling in the District of Columbia. … 1962: Astronaut John Glenn became the first American to orbit Earth.

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