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

100 years ago: Flu epidemic getting worse on East Coast and spreading west

A front page story in The Spokesman-Review on Sept. 22, 1918 said that 17 soldiers died in Massachusetts and 14 in New Jersey from the flu. (Spokesman-Review archives)
A front page story in The Spokesman-Review on Sept. 22, 1918 said that 17 soldiers died in Massachusetts and 14 in New Jersey from the flu. (Spokesman-Review archives)

The Spanish influenza epidemic on the East Coast was getting worse – and spreading.

A front page story said that 17 soldiers died in Massachusetts and 14 in New Jersey.

The flu had also spread all the way to an army technical school in Boulder, Colo.

The Spokesman-Review reprinted an editorial from a Wisconsin paper which reassured readers – falsely, as it turned out – that “there is no reason to be greatly alarmed … it is a milder type of disease than the old grip (flu).”

It had not yet spread to Spokane – but it would before long.

From the crime beat: A burglary “gang” of seven boys, age 9 to 13, was rounded up after a downtown chase.

The caper began when the boys entered the Economy Store through a skylight and grabbed candy, gum, cookies, raisins and pencils.

After eating some of the goodies, they hid the rest of the loot in a cache. The next day, however, some of the boys learned that two of the others were planning to sneak in and steal the cache. They informed on the two boys, who police subsequently arrested and brought in for questioning.

Those two boys then “squealed” on the other five.

Police learned the five were in a motion picture house, so detectives fanned out to the theaters. At the Lyric Theatre, one of the boys saw a detective walking down the aisle and alerted the others, and they all scampered out through a side door.

Police gave chase and nabbed all five of them, four blocks away.


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