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Opinion >  Column

100 years ago in Spokane: A hibernating grizzly bear gave birth at Manito Park Zoo, and a highly publicized manslaughter trial kicked off

UPDATED: Tue., Jan. 19, 2021

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

A grizzly bear gave birth in her “winter quarters” at Manito Park Zoo.

Nobody was quite sure how many babies there were, because she was hibernating deep in her den and “it was not safe to disturb her.” She and the cubs would probably not come out for many weeks. The park foreman thought there were two cubs, but he wasn’t certain.

From the court beat: W.J. Van Skike was on trial for manslaughter in the death of Mrs. S.S. Kirkpatrick, a widow who was dragged underneath Van Skike’s auto for 13 blocks before onlookers forced him to stop.

At least five witnesses testified that the car was going 35 mph or more, although they had to admit it was a guess. One man testified that Mrs. Kirkpatrick emitted “one steady scream” as she was dragged through the streets.

Interest in the case was “intense” and the judge had to switch courtrooms for a larger one. Every seat was taken “and standing room was at a premium.”

From the robbery beat: No trace had been found of the two robbers who held up the Spokane State Bank a day earlier.

One man was detained for questioning, but he was released after bank employees failed to identify him as one of the robbers.

The distinctive tracks of the getaway car – it was equipped with snow chains – led police to Mission Avenue and Division Street, but after that they lost the tracks. Detectives continued to search for leads.

On this day

(From Associated Press)

1961: John F. Kennedy was inaugurated as the 35th President.

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