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Wednesday, September 18, 2019  Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883
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100 years ago in Spokane: Peach pits pile up at Clemmer Theater in gas mask drive

UPDATED: Fri., Sept. 21, 2018, 8:13 a.m.

2,500 pounds of peach pits – the fruit of efforts by area youth – piled up at the Clemmer Theater, to be used in gas masks for the war effort. (Spokesman-Review archives)
2,500 pounds of peach pits – the fruit of efforts by area youth – piled up at the Clemmer Theater, to be used in gas masks for the war effort. (Spokesman-Review archives)

The Clemmer Theater (today’s Bing Crosby Theater) held its first “peach pit matinee” – and collected 2,500 pounds of peach pits.

Why peach pits? Because they were used to make carbon for gas masks. The theater collected enough to make 750 gas masks.

The pits were collected, washed and dried by 3,000 people, mostly youngsters, who “took the theater by storm.” They were “spread out over the sidewalk and so blocked traffic that it was necessary to call out the police to help maintain order.”

The screen attraction was the John Barrymore film, “On the Quiet.” Free admission was given to everyone who brought a pint full of pits, or about 50 pits.

Many students had obtained permission to leave school early. The Vera School closed early and 40 pupils “came to the Clemmer in a body.”

From the family beat: Spokane’s social services bureau said that increased breakdown of marriage and family life was becoming an increasing problem.

It blamed “disorganized family life” as a cause of many recent social problems. It planned to study the issue to learn “the fundamental facts of family life so that the real cause of family breakdown can be learned.”

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