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Sunday, May 19, 2019  Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883
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News >  Spokane

100 years ago in Spokane: As Spokane prepared to go dry, Des Moines proclaimed prohibition a success

From our archives,

100 years ago

The Spokesman-Review sent a correspondent to Des Moines, Iowa, to explore the question: What will Spokane be like without saloons?

The question was pertinent, since Washington prohibition was set to commence Jan. 1, 1916, and Des Moines had been without saloons since the preceding February.

The verdict: A dry Des Moines was a big success. Business was better than ever.

“The men who say the town is more prosperous than ever say so openly and with no strings attached,” the correspondent said. “The men who say that business has been injured ask that their names not be used.”

This rosy account of the post-saloon life included the following from the Des Moines school superintendent; “The school children are better dressed than they were. They have good shoes … . Reports from my teachers show that they are better nourished.”

From the tragedy file: The mysterious shooting of Clarence Farquahar, 14, had a sad postscript. Farquahar had been riding a horse to Sunday school a year before when a bullet from an unknown source killed him. The case was never solved.

A year later came the news that his mother, Charlotte, 45, had been brought to the Spokane County Jail on an insanity charge. She “had lost her reason in grief over the death of her boy,” relatives said.

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