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Opinion >  Column

100 years ago in Spokane: A state bill was introduced to make Washington go ‘blue’ on Sundays

UPDATED: Tue., Feb. 2, 2021

 (Spokane Daily Chronicle archives )
(Spokane Daily Chronicle archives )

A Sunday “blue law” – banning work and entertainment on Sundays – was being drafted in the Washington Legislature.

An Olympia correspondent described the provisions as “drastic.” The bill was modeled after a strict bill that had recently been proposed in New York.

“The bill is being fitted with ‘teeth’ that will make residents of big cities and small towns alike, drop everything except their religious duties on Sunday,” said the Spokane Daily Chronicle.

The correspondent did not seem to be sympathetic to the bill. He implied that moralistic women were behind it.

“A number of women who infest halls of the statehouse let the secret leak out today that such a bill was being drafted,” he wrote.

The bill would demand that all theaters and places of amusement be closed on Sundays. A state censorship board would also be created to censor motion pictures.

Also from the Olympia beat: The Chronicle ran a front-page photo of more than a dozen chiefs of Washington tribes, including the Umatilla, Yakima (now spelled Yakama) and Nez Perce tribes, standing on the steps of the state Capitol building.

They visited the Legislature to request that lawmakers uphold their fishing rights in the treaty of 1855.

From the technology beat: A world-changing technology – radio – was demonstrating its reach in Spokane.

The Pacific Telegraph Institute in Spokane had built a wireless receiving station which was pulling in messages from Panama, the Pacific Islands and South America.

The institute was training students to be radio operators on ships.

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