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Jim Kershner’s This day in history

From our archives, 50 years ago

The Spokane City Council, after considerable hand-wringing, passed an ordinance in 1961 allowing people to dance in taverns to live music.

It was considered a matter of fairness, since dancing was already allowed in cocktail lounges. It passed over the strenuous objections of a number of ministers, who presented a petition signed by representatives of 250 local churches.

They didn’t seem to object to the dancing itself, but to anything that encouraged people to hang out in taverns and drink.

“Today you see women on bar stools,” said one opponent of the ordinance. “Women would have to be helped off tavern stools and we’d end up with a dizzy dance.”

But the president of the Spokane Tavern Owners Association said, “Our places of business will not be turned into honky-tonks. They will be places where people can meet and enjoy themselves.”

One man spoke in favor of the measure, saying that it shouldn’t be denied just because some people object to alcohol. He noted that several thousand people in Spokane even disapprove of drinking coffee.

Also on this date

(From the Associated Press)

1776: Thomas Paine anonymously published his influential pamphlet, “Common Sense.” … 1961: The University of Georgia, under court order, admitted its first two black students, Hamilton Holmes and Charlayne Hunter.