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Thursday, August 22, 2019  Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883
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News >  Spokane

Jim Kershner’s this day in history

From our archives, 100 years ago

The Austrians engaged in a pitched battle with the Greeks – in a Spokane coffeehouse on Main Avenue.

One 42-year-old Greek man said he walked into the coffeehouse in search of an hour of peace and quiet. But then an argument broke out between the Austrian and Greek patrons. The next thing he knew, he was knocked down by a flying table, flung by a “crowd of Austrians.”

Another Greek laborer suffered a forehead laceration when “an Austrian tried to push his head through the floor.”

No one said what started the fight, but tensions were high among various European immigrants because of the Great War raging in Europe (Greece would later enter the war on the side of the Allies).

Police arrested a number of “Austrians” whose last names were Lombovitch, Chatovitch and Kravich. “Austrian” was a term used to describe many central and eastern European nationalities. 

From the accident beat: Elmer Sherwood, 5, was watching his father’s friends do some target shooting at their Wilbur-area farm.

One man fired at the target but missed, hitting a drag harrow. The bullet ricocheted and struck the boy’s forehead. He fell down unconscious.

The boy died later. The man who fired the shot was “overcome by the tragedy.”

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