Jim Kershner’s this day in history
From our archives, 100 years ago
The 1913 Spokane Interstate Fair produced this startling headline: “Judges Find Two Perfect Babies.”
The judges, mostly doctors, examined 419 babies in the fair’s Better Baby Contest, and found two who scored a perfect 100 out of 100: Eleanor E. House, 29 months, and Carl Eckerman, 15 months, both of Spokane.
The Spokesman-Review noted approvingly that, in general, the babies “scored higher and cried less” than the babies judged the day before. A photo spread showed doctors and nurses weighing and measuring a variety of babies. The babies were measured not just for physical development, but also for “mental” development. Any baby who showed “a certain degree of stubbornness, verging into temper,” received a demerit.
The contest was to continue for every day of the fair. Hundreds of parents had signed up their babies for judging.
Also from the fair beat: Indian tribes were prominent at the Interstate Fair, in contrasting ways. The fair included an Indian Congress, in which tribes gathered from around the region. In one of the first congress sessions, each tribe received flags from Washington, D.C., from a representative of President Woodrow Wilson.
Meanwhile, the fair’s nightly dramatic spectacle was a re-enactment of “Custer’s Last Stand,” complete with costumed Indians and soldiers under the glare of huge searchlights.