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Thursday, October 17, 2019  Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883
News >  Spokane

100 years ago in Spokane: Ministers declare intention to crack down on vice-riddled streets of Spokane

A group calling themselves the Spokane Civic Righteousness Committee announced its intentions to the Spokane Daily Chronicle in July 1919 to rid the city of vice. (SR Archives)
A group calling themselves the Spokane Civic Righteousness Committee announced its intentions to the Spokane Daily Chronicle in July 1919 to rid the city of vice. (SR Archives)
Jim Kershner

Spokane’s Civic Righteousness Committee announced plans for the “moral renovation” of the city.

The head of the committee, a branch of the Spokane Ministerial Association, declared that the group “was ready to go to the bottom of vice conditions in Spokane.”

He said one particularly notorious “hotel” on Trent Avenue had already been raided and shut down.

Meanwhile, a self-styled “vice crusader” connected with the committee said that he possessed inside information that police were “protecting vice here in some instances instead of suppressing it.” He declared his intention to “clean up Spokane.”

From the police beat: Police solved the Peter Olson “mutilation” mystery.

Olson was the farm laborer who insisted that three shadowy strangers abducted him, chloroformed him, slashed him and left him lying in a pool of his own blood in the woods.

Now, police were convinced that Olson inflicted the wounds upon himself.

Police recruited five neighborhood boys to scour the brush near Queen Avenue and A Street. They found a white-handled razor and pearl-handled knife, both belonging to Olson. They also found the key to Olson’s hotel room. When police searched the room, they found a shaving kit, which was missing only the razor.

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