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Opinion >  Column

100 years ago in Spokane: Health official warns of ‘dope’ crisis. Plus, the early days of election polling

UPDATED: Tue., Oct. 20, 2020

 (Spokane Daily Chronicle archives )
(Spokane Daily Chronicle archives )
By Jim Kershner The Spokesman-Review

Major Roy Brown, the medical officer of Fort George Wright, dropped a bombshell at the Spokane Chamber of Commerce meeting.

“Thirty of the 200 soldiers stationed at Fort George Wright are drug users and have acquired the habit because of the easy manner in which dope may be secured on the streets of Spokane,” he said.

Major Brown said soldiers told him they “can stand at the corner of Howard and Riverside for 10 minutes and secure the dope in almost any quantities they desire.”

He said dope could also be secured in all of the second- and third-rate hotels in town, as well as the “lower type of dance halls and drug stores.”

The chamber immediately formed a special committee to investigate Major Brown’s charges and make recommendations to stamp out the problem.

From the political beat: Telephone polling as we know it today was in its infancy, but newspapers, including the Spokane Daily Chronicle, had their own equivalent: test ballots, distributed throughout the city.

The Chronicle announced it would distribute test ballots to the crowds at the Woodward, Pantages and Auditorium theaters over the next few days, then compile and print the results.

In order to get the most accurate sample, only registered voters would be asked to fill out the test ballots.

On this day

(From Associated Press)

1879: Thomas Edison perfected a workable electric light at his laboratory in Menlo Park, N.J.

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