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Jim Kershner’s This day in history » On the Web:

Sat., March 19, 2011

From our archives, 100 years ago

Three of Spokane’s new commissioners went on a police-escorted tour of the city’s “underworld,” also known as the Tenderloin, also known as the area between Main and Front avenues between Howard and Bernard.

The tour concentrated on two areas:

• The “dimly lighted alleys” – The Spokesman-Review said it was “a well-known police fact that a majority of the crimes are either hatched or committed in the dark recesses of some of these alleys.” The commissioners agreed that the alleys should be immediately supplied with better light.

• Saloons “conducted and frequented by foreigners” – These served the booming population of immigrant workers and were considered, at least by the police, as dangerous hotbeds of drunkenness and violence. However, the story noted that this particular night was “comparatively peaceful.”

The tour did not investigate “the social evil,” a euphemism for prostitution. Yet the story said “it is well known, however, that the disorderly women recently driven from the city are now flocking back.”

The commissioners promised to give this issue their immediate attention.

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