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Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883
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100 years ago in Spokane: Businesses petition to lift on public gatherings ban; health officer unmoved

Local businesses affected by the flu ban were gathering signatures to have it lifted. “They might as well save their ink,” said the city’s health officer. (Spokesman-Review archives)
Local businesses affected by the flu ban were gathering signatures to have it lifted. “They might as well save their ink,” said the city’s health officer. (Spokesman-Review archives)

With the Spanish flu statistics continuing to improve, some of Spokane’s business leaders circulated a petition asking for an end to the partial ban on public gatherings. They proposed replacing it with a quarantine on households with flu patients.

Some of the backers of the petition were in the businesses most affected by the ban, including theaters. The manager of the Pantages Theater reported that they had gathered several thousand signatures already, and people were clamoring to sign it.

How did Dr. J.B. Anderson, the city health officer, react to this news?

“Those petitions will have as much effect on me as water on a duck’s back,” said Dr. Anderson. “… The people circulating and signing the petitions might just as well save their ink.”

He vowed to continue the ban at least until early January. He implied that business people were putting the almighty dollar ahead of the public good. He also pointed out that the situation was improving directly because of the ban.

“A dollar is good, but it is no good to a dead man,” he said. “The situation is gathering nicely. Why not let it continue?”

From the Santa beat: A group of Spokane teachers were handling the mail addressed to Santa Claus. They released the contents of the first letter they received:

“Dear Santa Claus, I am 9 years old. Please bring me a pair of overshoes and a cap and a cork gun and tin soldiers game and some checkers and checkerboard and a book or two and some candy and nuts and I got a little sister and I got a brother. Please remember them too. Signed, (a lad on Martin Street).”

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