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Jim Kershner’s this day in history

From our archives, 100 years ago

The front page headline read, “5,000 Shriners Make City Hum.”

It was a massive Shriner gathering, consisting of “fez-capped nobles” from “temples” all over the country. They arrived in 20 special trains from Illinois, Texas, Iowa, Ohio, Minnesota and points farther east. They stopped for a day or two on their way to an “imperial council” in Seattle.

A parade, with bands and Shriner patrols, stretched for nearly 2 miles on Spokane streets.

“Camels, goats and donkeys served their place also, adding a touch of the nomadic Arab life, which is part of the whimsical equipage of the shrine,” The Spokesman-Review reported.

From the police beat: Meanwhile, an encampment of what the paper called “gypsies” caused some confusion in the city. Three women of the 25-person gypsy camp were offering their services as fortune-tellers to pedestrians. People initially mistook them for members of the Shriners convention, and they “waved appreciative approval.”

Some people complained, however, and police came and ordered the women to stop. When police took the women to the police station, they “suffered shock” when they saw some Shriners in Arab costume at the station, and the woman began “struggling and shrieking.”

Police managed to calm them down and released the women when they promised to stop soliciting business as fortune-tellers.


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