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Friday, January 24, 2020  Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883
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News >  Spokane

100 years ago in Spokane: Wartime effort, jealously guarded, spurs need for ‘watchmen’

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

A new emergency city ordinance showed the level of wartime anxiety in Spokane.

It required special watchmen to guard “every warehouse, pumping plant, mill” or other place in the city where foodstuffs (over a certain dollar amount) were stored.

This was aimed to prevent sabotage of vital public works and food supplies.

Owners of such facilities who failed to hire watchmen would be subject to fines or jail time. The owners would have to pay for the watchmen, but they would be under the jurisdiction of the police department.

They would be on duty continuously every night and during weekends and holidays.

From the patriotism file: The Old National Bank was providing a colorful patriotic spectacle every night from atop its Spokane building.

A “revolving searchlight flashing red, white and blue with electric nitrogen lamps aggregating 275,000 candle power” was sending up beacons that could be seen for miles.

This “unique lamp, which is mounted on a steel tower” was “the only searchlight of its kind in the United States.”

The paper reported that it “can be seen from all points in the Spokane valley.”

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