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Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883
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100 years ago in Umatilla: Election of seven women called ‘petticoat government’

 (Spokesman-Review archives)
(Spokesman-Review archives)

From our archive, 100 years ago

The municipal government of Umatilla, Oregon was making front-page news in Spokane because it was now a “petticoat government.”

“Women In Full Charge,” said the headline in The Spokesman-Review.

The city’s new administration consisted of a woman mayor, a woman recorder, a woman treasurer and four women city council members. The only men were two holdover city council members, and they were “decidedly out of it,” said the story.

“There has been a great deal said about the so-called ‘petticoat government’ and many wild speculations made as to how we would manage city affairs, being ‘mere women,’” said mayor Laura J. Starcher. “However, we will manage the affairs of this municipality in a creditable manner, without a shadow of a doubt.”

From the bird beat: Spokane bird lovers were all atwitter over the appearance of a rare winter visitor, the white-winged crossbill.

Mrs. M.M. Wild said the bird appeared at her bird feeder near Dishman. She notified the president of the Spokane Bird Club, Fred Greenwood, who went out and verified the identification. A number of bird lovers then descended on the area to catch sight of the bird.

The bird is similar to the red crossbill, but is usually seen at more northerly latitudes and higher altitudes, and had “not been reported near Spokane in many years.”

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