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Monday, October 14, 2019  Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883
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100 years ago in Spokane: ‘City faces red threat’ although the free-speech standoff was already settled

The Spokane Daily Chronicle ran a giant banner headline on April 21, 1919, reading “CITY FACES ‘RED’ THREAT.” This was perhaps an exaggeration. (The Spokane Daily Chronicle archives)
The Spokane Daily Chronicle ran a giant banner headline on April 21, 1919, reading “CITY FACES ‘RED’ THREAT.” This was perhaps an exaggeration. (The Spokane Daily Chronicle archives)

The Spokane Daily Chronicle ran a giant banner headline reading “CITY FACES ‘RED’ THREAT.”

This was perhaps an exaggeration, since it was actually a free-speech standoff – one in which a compromise had already been reached.

The standoff had begun a week earlier when the city closed Turner Hall to radical speakers. Radical attorney Sam T. Crane then applied for a street-speaking permit and threatened to launch a renewal of the Free Speech Fight of 1909, in which Wobblies and radicals flooded the city and filled the jails. The Chronicle characterized Crane’s words as amounting to “veiled threats of possible violence.”

Yet by the afternoon, the “tense situation” was smoothed over, when city officials agreed to reopen Turner Hall for speeches such as Crane’s, “as long as they stay within the proper bounds,” meaning, they could not advocate revolution.

Crane agreed that the question had “been settled up without trouble.”

Yet Crane also said the Wobblies were never going to be put out of business by “suppression or repression.”

From the auto beat: Frank Hosier, a mining man from Wallace, Idaho, drove all the way from Los Angeles to Spokane in a 1916 Ford.

He drove the 1,680-mile distance in seven days and estimated that the actual time spent driving was 80 hours.

“I found the roads in good condition practically all the way, and barring six punctures and two blowouts, had no trouble,” Hosier said.

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