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Jim Kershner’s this day in history

From our archives, 100 years ago

The city’s commissioner of public safety, D. Coates, was taking a stand against the “silhouette gown,” a filmy, clingy, diaphanous new dress fashion that had recently made an appearance on Spokane’s sidewalks.

He announced that he would arrest any woman found wearing such a gown on the streets.

He said he didn’t want to infringe on anyone’s “rightful privileges,” but “when women parade the streets in gowns of filmy nothingness, it is the duty of the police to discourage the practice.”


Because “any unnecessary display of a woman’s person tends to licentiousness.”

“If it is the desire of women, of high or low standing, to wear these gowns in private, that is their affair,” he said.

From the tragedy beat: Althea Stark, 5, was playing with her sister, Susan Stark, age 14 months, near the Northern Pacific right-of-way at Trent when she noticed the toddler had wandered onto the tracks.

Then she heard the train roaring down. Althea leaped toward her sister and was able to push her far enough out of the way so that the engine struck her only a glancing blow. The toddler escaped with a broken leg.

Althea, unfortunately, was struck directly by the train. The “five-year-old heroine” died from a fractured skull.