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

From our archives, 100 years ago

Spokane police claimed to have uncovered the secret den of an Italian criminal gang in the basement of the St. Paul Bar, 335 Front Ave. (now Spokane Falls Boulevard). It all began when the Italian proprietor of the St. Paul Bar attacked one of his fellow countrymen, a farmer, in an altercation near Minnehaha Park. The knife opened a big gash on the farmer’s head. When police arrived, the farmer told them who did it – and he also told police that if they wanted to investigate the man’s saloon, they would find something interesting.

“We found a complete arrangement of secret openings and windows in the basement of the St. Paul Bar for illicit selling of liquor,” said the city’s police commissioner. “We believe we have located a nest of criminals.”

He said the place not only sold liquor illegally on Sundays, but it was also a hideout for other nefarious activities. Police said they were investigating threats to kill police officers. The mayor ordered the bar closed while the investigation was being completed.

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(From the Associated Press)

1814: Francis Scott Key was inspired to write a poem after witnessing how the American flag continued to fly over Maryland’s Fort McHenry after a night of British bombardment during the War of 1812; that poem, “Defence of Fort McHenry,” later became the lyrics to “The Star-Spangled Banner.”

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