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Jim Kershner’s This day in history

From our archives, 100 years ago

The police court was attempting to protect the rights – and wallets – of drunkards in Spokane’s saloons.

It closed the Jahde Bar at Division Street and Front Avenue (now Spokane Falls Boulevard) because the bartender habitually shortchanged inebriated customers. The judge ruled it was the bar’s common practice to defraud 25 cents from men too drunk to realize it.

The court also condemned the widespread practice of “treating.”

Here’s how it worked: When a bar had a drunken customer, the bartender would announce that the drunk was treating the house to a drink. This forced inebriated customers to spend “many dollars they never intended to spend.”

More from the intoxication beat: Two Norwegian working men were fined $25 each, plus court costs, for demolishing their hotel room in a drunken frenzy.

The curtains were torn to shreds, the mattresses tossed on the floor, the chairs broken to kindling and the contents of the water pitchers poured everywhere. The men said they had no idea how it had happened. The judge said he believed they must have “been fighting visionary reptiles and demolished the furniture instead.”

Also on this date

(From the Associated Press)

1821: Napoleon Bonaparte, 51, died in exile on the island of St. Helena.