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Jim Kershner’s this day in history

Sun., Nov. 25, 2012

From our archives, 100 years ago

A Sunday feature in The Spokesman-Review said that Spokane’s Chinese population numbered 400, “and nearly all of them live on the same block.” They were referring to what people called Trent Alley, which is now covered by the parking lot across from the INB Performing Arts Center.

The story went on to note that opium-smoking and fan-tan (a gambling game) infractions were way down from previous levels.

“They have never had the trouble here that the race has met elsewhere, not even during the anti-Chinese agitation in the Coeur d’Alenes,” the story said. “The probabilities are that they will develop an interesting Chinese quarter in the alley if undisturbed.”

From the snake beat: Federal officials in Spokane were surprised to find that the city contained so many snake-charmers.

The week before, officials arrested snake-charmer Alex Schmidt and had attempted to find someone qualified to deal with his three snakes while he was in jail. A number of self-styled snake experts showed up and volunteered their services.

However, Schmidt’s friends were already taking care of the snakes.

Yet his friends warned darkly that they would turn the snakes loose in the streets if the government “refused to give them immediate attention.” Schmidt had been arrested for bootlegging.

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