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Friday, September 25, 2020  Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883
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100 Years Ago in Spokane: Library mulls branch closures; detectives perplexed by ‘mystery liquor’

UPDATED: Mon., Aug. 10, 2020

The Spokane Public Library was contemplating closing some branches in order to buy new books.

City Librarian George W. Fuller said the library needed an appropriation of $51,847 for 1921, including nearly $16,000 for books.

The top priority was “proper stocking of the library.” If the city could not provide the required amount, the library would have to make some hard choices.

“If funds cannot be provided to keep up the service and at the same time to buy books in the quantities required, we must get the books and cut the service somewhere,” said Fuller. “We are prepared to show just what each branch of the service costs and what might be cut off.”

From the Prohibition beat: Spokane detectives confiscated 15 gallons of liquor during a South Hill raid – but nobody was sure what kind of liquor it was.

The “mystery liquor” was made by a Japanese gardener, and it was apparently made from a home country recipe. The ingredients included potatoes, brown sugar and rice.

“It resembles wine in some respects and beer in others,” said the Spokane Daily Chronicle. “Its maker calls it by a Japanese term which the detectives say is unpronounceable.”

From the accident beat: A Spokane “water boy” – a boy employed to carry water to construction workers – fell from the second story of a construction site while playing a prank on a fellow water boy.

“I was leaning over the elevator shaft of the second floor, throwing water at a kid on the first floor,” said Gustave Lukas, 12, from the hospital. “The first thing I know, I fell. … I didn’t remember anything until I woke up here.”

He was treated for a broken arm and a bruised head.

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