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Thursday, December 13, 2018  Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883
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News >  Spokane

100 years ago in Spokane: Flu death toll rises, but theaters hope for end to ban on public gatherings

Spokane’s death toll from the flu rose to 153, but officials were considering ending the ban on public gatherings, The Spokesman-Review reported on Nov. 13, 1918. (Jonathan Brunt / The Spokesman-Review)
Spokane’s death toll from the flu rose to 153, but officials were considering ending the ban on public gatherings, The Spokesman-Review reported on Nov. 13, 1918. (Jonathan Brunt / The Spokesman-Review)

Spokane’s theaters were making plans to open after a nearly month-long closure. The Woodward Players theater troupe was gathered in Spokane and ready to raise the curtain, if the ban on public gatherings was lifted as expected the next day.

Officials were encouraged that other large cities, including Seattle and New York, had lifted their bans on public gatherings, and by the fact that the number of new Spanish flu cases in Spokane was dropping.

However, there were several ominous signs. An alarming number of deaths, 12, were reported the previous day, raising the total Spokane toll to 153. City health officer Dr. John B. Anderson also said he wanted to wait and see if there would be an uptick in cases following the mass armistice celebrations throughout the city. He said he would make a decision the next day.

From the bicycle beat: City officials vowed to crack down on a downtown menace: Boys riding bicycles on the sidewalk.

City ordinances prohibited the riding of any vehicle on any sidewalk, a rule widely flouted.

“Not infrequently, old people are run into, causing them to suffer injury,” said a Spokane police officer.”Little children are often run into, or crowded off the walk. The violations are becoming so flagrant that something must be done.”

He said he planned to confiscate the bicycles of violators for up to 60 days .


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