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Jim Kershner’s this day in history

From our archives, 100 years ago

The uproar over the “Spokane Diggin’s” show, intended to mimic Spokane’s wild mining camp days, had not abated. Spokane’s commissioner of public safety wrote a lengthy response to ministers and other critics who accused the city of allowing an “orgy,” attended by 5,000 men, to be held in the city.

The commissioner said that the event, held in conjunction with the American Mining Congress convention, was pitched to the city commission as harmless entertainment, no different than the usual “variety performances by actresses from our variety shows” held every day in the city.

He admitted that one citizen came to him before the show and claimed that “about 40 prostitutes” had been secured as part of the entertainment. But the commissioner dismissed that claim as “impossible.” The show’s promoters also rejected that claim. The commissioner said nothing objectionable occurred until the very end – the notorious striptease – and that occurred without the consent or knowledge of the show’s planners. This was not enough to appease Spokane’s ministers, who were organizing a recall drive for all of the city commissioners.

However, a representative of the American Mining Congress said the “Diggin’s” feature was “one of the best ever given at a session of the congress” and that “Spokane will be given great publicity.” The delegates left Spokane with the “best of feelings.”

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