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Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883
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100 years ago today in Spokane: “Absolutely pure water” credited for no typhoid fever deaths

From the March 10, 1920 Spokesman-Review. (S-R archives)
From the March 10, 1920 Spokesman-Review. (S-R archives)

The Journal of the American Medical Association praised Spokane as the first city on record, with a population of more than 100,000, to have zero deaths from typhoid fever in a calendar year.

Nationwide, the average number of deaths per 100,000 was 4.2, with some cities far higher. Memphis reported 58 typhoid deaths.

The Journal called it a “remarkable showing” for Spokane, but did not speculate on the reasons. The city’s health officer attributed it to the city’s “wonderful supply of absolutely pure water.”

The city did have 19 cases of typhoid fever, but all of the patients recovered. A number of those cases originated outside of Spokane.

From the school beat: The situation facing Spokane County’s rural school districts was described as “alarming and menacing.”

Teacher salaries were rising rapidly and the rural districts could not afford to catch up. Rural teachers were being paid $75 a month, but the districts might be forced to raise that to $125 a month in the coming year. These districts didn’t have the money.

“Our country is insolvent as to education, and there is a crisis here that must be met or we must close up our schools,” said Cheney Normal School president N.D. Showalter. “… It is the duty of the state or this nation to see that these districts are able to maintain proper schools.”

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