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Opinion >  Column

100 years ago in Spokane: How New Year’s looked during prohibition — including a man named Pegleg’s vow to sober up

UPDATED: Fri., Jan. 1, 2021

 (S-R archives)
(S-R archives)

The Spokane County sheriff targeted the area’s most notorious liquor violators: the country dance halls.

The sheriff received word that “truckloads of liquor” were headed to the dance halls because “the lid was on so tight” in downtown Spokane.

The Motor Inn, on Moran Prairie, was the most notorious of all, a hotbed for jazz music, flappers and moonshine.

Deputies surrounded it at 3 a.m. and found about 40 revelers in various stages of intoxication. Two bottles of whisky were thrown out the back window when the raid occurred, and one of them was retrieved by an officer outside. One man was booked on liquor charges.

The Motor Inn was the former J.J. Browne home, converted to a roadhouse.

At the Seven Mile dance hall, the action was more subdued. Only a half-dozen couples were dancing and only one man appeared drunk.

At the Dishman dance hall, the place was nearly deserted when deputies arrived. One alleged drunk left before officers arrived.

From the resolution beat: Frank “Pegleg” Johnson, who had been arrested 65 times on booze charges, announced from jail that he was swearing off drinking in 1921.

“It’s getting so I can’t stand a drink, because it’s funny stuff they’re giving out these days,” he said. “It’s not like the old goods.”

Pegleg was notorious for hiding his flask in his wooden leg.

On this day

(From Associated Press)

1777: Gen. George Washington’s army routed the British in the Battle of Princeton, New Jersey.

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