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Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883
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100 years ago in Spokane: Hotel owner found guilty of bootlegging

The Spokesman-Review on Aug. 3, 1916. (The Spokesman-Review)
The Spokesman-Review on Aug. 3, 1916. (The Spokesman-Review)

From our archives, 100 years ago

The president of the company that owned the Spokane Hotel, William S. Norman, was found guilty of bootlegging, along with several subordinates.

The convictions stemmed from a raid on the hotel several weeks earlier in which police found a busy and sophisticated liquor-selling operation being run from a hotel room.

A porter at the hotel testified that the operation got its liquor from a wholesaler in Butte. He said “we wired orders to Butte every noon and afternoon.”

Another employee said, “I asked Mr. Norman on one occasion about the legality of the (liquor) permit business as it was carried on in room 101, and he assured me the hotel was within the law. … Most of the time I asked no questions, because I thought it was none of my business what was going on in that room.”

From the German-American beat: The feud between Democratic Party chair Julius Zittel and Adolph Munter, the president of Spokane’s Deutsch-Amerikanischer Zentral Verein (the local German-American society) continued to roil.

It all began when Zittel was quoted as saying nobody wanted the “darned Dutch” running the country – despite the fact that Zittel was himself a native of Germany. Munter responded by saying, “If you have studied American history, you must have observed that the ‘Dutch’ have at various times helped to ‘run this country.’ ”

Their spat was relatively minor, but it highlighted the awkward position of German-Americans as the European war raged on and the U.S. weighed its involvement. Their position would, within a year, become even more awkward.

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