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Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883
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100 years ago in Spokane: Spanish influenza rears its ugly head

Cases of Spanish influenza had begun cropping up in the region. (Spokesman-Review archives)
Cases of Spanish influenza had begun cropping up in the region. (Spokesman-Review archives)

The Spanish flu finally arrived in the Inland Northwest, and it was already causing fear, death and disruption.

The Whitman County Fair in Colfax was canceled because three cases of the deadly flu had been reported in that city. In fact, all schools, theaters, churches and public places in Colfax were ordered closed.

In Walla Walla, the East Washington-North Idaho Baptist Convention was canceled and authorities banned all other public gatherings in that city.

Meanwhile, the Red Cross was requesting a complete list of all of Spokane’s nurses and nurse’s aides for the purpose of fighting the epidemic.

Public meetings were not yet banned in Spokane, but the Spokane Daily Chronicle ran a story advising everyone to avoid “people who cough and sneeze,” and to avoid all kinds of big crowds.

A U.S. Navy seaman from Cheney had already died of the flu in Seattle and a Spokane soldier in training died at Fort Riley, Kansas.

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