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Sunday, January 20, 2019  Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883
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News >  Spokane

100 years ago in Spokane: Public holiday celebrations banned as flu deaths mount

In the battle to stop the spread of the flu, city health officer Dr. J.B. Anderson announced that no public Christmas or New Year’s celebrations would be allowed in Spokane, the Spokane Daily Chronicle reported on Dec. 11, 1918. Anderson also agreed to accept 180 quarts of whiskey seized by police “for the relief” of the flu patients. In news unrelated to flu, the Colored Men’s Progressive Club held its first meeting at the Spokane home of Earl Dundee. The group was formed to protest discrimination and promote harmony between white and black people. (Spokesman-Review archives)
In the battle to stop the spread of the flu, city health officer Dr. J.B. Anderson announced that no public Christmas or New Year’s celebrations would be allowed in Spokane, the Spokane Daily Chronicle reported on Dec. 11, 1918. Anderson also agreed to accept 180 quarts of whiskey seized by police “for the relief” of the flu patients. In news unrelated to flu, the Colored Men’s Progressive Club held its first meeting at the Spokane home of Earl Dundee. The group was formed to protest discrimination and promote harmony between white and black people. (Spokesman-Review archives)

No public Christmas or New Year’s celebrations would be allowed in Spokane, said city health officer Dr. J.B. Anderson.

“People might as well make up their minds right now to forego the usual public observances of these occasions,” he said. “The ban on public dances will not be lifted until I am satisfied the danger is past, even should the epidemic reach the point where there is not one case a day reported.”

He also warned people to get their Christmas shopping done early because he would not tolerate crowds in the stores right before Christmas.

Anderson also agreed to accept 180 quarts of whiskey seized by police “for the relief” of the flu patients.

From the mortality beat: The city released November’s health statistics, proving beyond doubt the severity of the epidemic. The city’s November 1918 deaths totaled 275, the most in the city’s history. Of those, 186 were due to influenza. The number of births that month was 111.

The death rate for December appeared as if it might be even worse.

The paper continued to be full of obituaries for prominent figures. Harry L. Bleecker, 45, vice president of the Washington Water Power Co., succumbed while on a business trip to New York. Spokane schoolteacher Lena Gollihur, died at her home.

Louis Berklund, aka Fred Ackerman, died in the state penitentiary at Walla Walla. He was infamous as the man who robbed the Citizen Savings & Loan Association in Spokane in 1915. He was one of five Walla Walla prisoners to die in one day.

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