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The Spokesman-Review Newspaper
Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883

100 years ago: Thousands vie for Colville Reservation land drawing

From our archives, 100 years ago

More than 14,000 people registered for the Colville Reservation land drawing, and the superintendent of allotment predicted that, when it was all over, “at least 100,000 people will register.”

The government was opening up areas of the Colville Reservation that had not been previously allotted to tribal members. There were registration offices all over the region: in Wenatchee, Omak, Wilbur, Colville and Republic, as well as Spokane. Spokane had by far the most registrants at nearly 10,000.

Clerks reported that people were arriving from all over, including Seattle and Tacoma, to register for the drawing. Most were seeking farm homesteads, but some apparently considered it “a gamble, pure and simple.” It cost only 25 cents to register.

“Here goes,” said one man, depositing his registration in a large metal can. “I hope I draw a farm, but I don’t know what I’d do with it if I got it.”

From the holiday beat: The editorial page noted that fireworks injuries were down in Spokane, but “a newer agency of destruction” was piling up deaths.

They were referring to the automobile. Highways were crowded on the holiday with autos driven by “men, women or even children who have not handled machines long enough to be dependable in case of emergency.”

The editors foresaw a day when “stringent regulation of motor car traffic” would be required.