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Jim Kershner’s this day in history

From our archives, 100 years ago

Spokane was congratulating itself on being a particularly healthy city. On this date in 1913, the city had only nine cases of scarlet fever, 23 cases of smallpox (“all at the isolation hospital and all contracted elsewhere”) and not one single case of diphtheria.

The editors of The Spokesman-Review said this was a remarkable showing, especially when it came to diphtheria, known “in the medical world as the ‘king of the men of death.’ ”

Spokane, said the editors, was ranked third best in all of the large cities of the U.S. for its death rate. The rate in Spokane in 1912 was 8.5 per 1,000 population, compared with 16 per 1,000 in the nation as a whole.

The editorial claimed the “splendid condition Spokane is in today is not a freak.” It was because Spokane is simply a more healthful place to live than other cities.

The fact that Spokane was still a relatively new city and probably had a correspondingly young population might have also had something to do with the low death rate.

Also on this date

(From the Associated Press)

1792: The New York Stock Exchange had its origins as a group of brokers met under a tree on Wall Street. … 1973: A special committee convened by the U.S. Senate began its televised hearings into the Watergate scandal.

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