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Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883
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Jim Kershner’s this day in history

From our archives, 100 years ago

The Al G. Barnes Wild Animal Circus was in town, and nearly every seat was filled for the performances at Recreation Park.

“The chief feature of the main show was a young woman trainer and a black-maned African lion, drawn into the air on a suspended platform amidst a halo of fireworks and smoke,” said the paper.

The circus also included a “trained grizzly bear that took pleasure in throwing the trainer to the floor in no gentle manner.”

The crowd also watched ostriches trained to pull a cart, trained seals, boxing kangaroos and “leopards that rode horses about the rings.”

 Miss Bessie Harvey, singing equestrienne, also was a crowd-pleaser.

From the shoplifting beat: Mrs. Mary Lusto and Mrs. Mary Johnson tearfully confessed to shoplifting baby shoes, curtains, hosiery and other clothing from a Spokane department store over many months. Store officials had noticed many items missing, and also noticed the “frequent appearance” of the two women. Detectives then followed them and found stolen items in their shopping bags. Later, they found more stolen items in their homes.

The women burst into tears when their husbands visited them in jail. They were natives of Finland, and spoke little English. Their husbands were laborers and had only recently arrived in the U.S. 

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