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Tuesday, September 17, 2019  Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883
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News >  Spokane

100 years ago in Spokane: City promotes vaccination as 20 people contract smallpox

A Spokane Daily Chronicle headline said, “Vaccination! It’s Getting to Be Quite the Thing.”

Fourteen people showed up at the city health office to get a smallpox vaccination.

“For a number of them, it represented the price of liberty – the only alternative to 14 days of quarantine after exposure to smallpox,” said the paper. “For the others it was pure foresightedness.”

City health officer Dr. John B. Anderson called the vaccination “the one best bet” to prevent an epidemic of smallpox. About 20 people in Spokane already were suffering from smallpox. He pointed out that every one of those people had not been vaccinated. Not a single vaccinated person had come down with smallpox in Spokane in the previous six years.

Meanwhile, between 75 and 100 students at Lewis and Clark High School were vaccinated following the discovery “of the second case of smallpox at the school.” The newly infected student, Louis Clune, was sent home. The boy who had the first case already had recovered and returned to school after a two-week absence.

From the accident beat: Willard J. Palmquist, 16, was starting a fire in a boiler in the family dairy in the Rockwood district. Suddenly the boiler exploded, killing the boy instantly. The explosion hurled his body 60 feet and hurled part of the boiler half a block distant.

Unbeknownst to the boy, some water had apparently frozen in the boiler, which was used for making steam to sterilize milk cans.

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