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Jim Kershner’s this day in history

Fri., Nov. 30, 2012, midnight

From our archives, 100 years ago

About 5,000 spectators, apparently all men, jammed into “Spokane Diggin’s,” a re-enactment of Spokane’s wild mining camp days at a converted ice skating rink.

The producers of the show – local booster organizations in conjunction with the American Mining Congress convention – had promised a “true-to-life” version of Spokane’s earlier, rowdier days.

A reporter on the scene said the show delivered on that promise.

The show was wild and “wide open.” At one point, the crowd nearly overturned one of the ticket booths.

The show featured four main attractions: boxing, gambling, liquor and dancing girls.

At the boxing matches, thousands of men craned their necks to watch the bouts. One man shouted, “Soak him, kid! Gee, that was a dandy! Hit him in the slats, kid!”

The gambling hall was supposedly operated with fake money, but later in the evening, spectators “rustled up old tables and empty boxes” and opened for business with Uncle Sam’s legal tender.

The most sensational act of the night took place at “Big Bertha’s Dance Hall.” It ended when a “young female muscle dancer” performed a dance clad only in light gauze, and “this she lost piecemeal during her dance.”

She later repeated the dance – on top of Big Bertha’s bar.

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