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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: Hotel owners object to city’s takeover over of building as flu hospital

A dispute arose after Spokane city authorities took over the Lion Hotel and turned it into a temporary influenza hospital. The owners of the hotel filed an objection to the takeover, the Spokane Daily Chronicle reported on Oct. 17, 1918. (Spokesman-Review archives)
A dispute arose after Spokane city authorities took over the Lion Hotel and turned it into a temporary influenza hospital. The owners of the hotel filed an objection to the takeover, the Spokane Daily Chronicle reported on Oct. 17, 1918. (Spokesman-Review archives)

The Dutch Club, a group of 35 “devotees of the ten pins,” had to cancel their weekly bowling session.

The reason: The ban on public gatherings due to the Spanish flu epidemic. It was the first time in 20 years the group had missed a bowling session.

This was one of many ways life was disrupted in Spokane because of the epidemic.

At Gonzaga University, the trainees in the Student Army Training Corps had a new task during night guard duty. They had to patrol the dormitories and make sure “the boys do not pull off masks while asleep.”

The trainees had been ordered to wear gauze masks at night in an attempt to ward off influenza.

Meanwhile, a dispute arose after city authorities took over the Lion Hotel and turned it into a temporary influenza hospital. The owners of the hotel filed an objection to the takeover. City health officer Dr. J.B. Anderson was unsympathetic.

“We don’t care a rap what the owners of the building think about it or about us, and we don’t propose to haggle with them over it,” said Dr. Anderson. “This is a very serious emergency and if the owners of the Lion Hotel think they can put a dollar in one side of the scale and a human life in the other, and get away with it, they are very badly mistaken.”

There were now 815 cases of flu reported, and the number was going up by about 75 every day. The Spokane Daily Chronicle reported that “there have been several deaths during the last few days.”


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