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

100 years ago in Spokane: Evangelist warns women not to play cards

Jim Kershner

From our archives, 100 years ago

Miss Mary Moody Parker, an evangelist, told a crowd of 700 women that “Spokane is more honeycombed in unbelief than any city I have been in in the past 15 years.”

Miss Parker went on to explain that “there are three sins that people like to flirt with – cards, dancing and theaters and moving picture shows.”

“The curse of Spokane is cards,” she said. “Why do we want cards in respectable homes when they are the gambler’s darling tools? Children learn to play cards at their mother’s knee.”

From the police beat: Patrolman Harry M. Alderson was working undercover, lying in wait for burglars, when he inadvertently set off a Keystone Kops-style comedy.

It began when young Miss Rothrock and a girlfriend returned home on the lower South Hill and saw a figure lurking in the shrubbery. They concluded that it was a burglar, and they crept cautiously into the Rothrock home using a flashlight.

The “burglar” was, in fact, Patrolman Alderson. He saw someone sneaking around with a flashlight – the two girls – but he thought they were burglars. He approached the house stealthily, gun drawn.

At that moment, Miss Rothrock’s brother and a friend arrived, and the girls let out “shrill screams,” warning the boys that armed burglars were about.

Patrolman Alderson heard the word “burglars!” confirming his suspicions. He mistook the boys for the miscreants and fired a warning shot in an attempt to get them to halt.

Fortunately, at this moment a police vehicle pulled up, after being summoned by Miss Rothrock, and “there was a gathering of the principals in the affair, and an explanation of the mystery.”