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Opinion >  Column

100 years ago in Spokane: Radium was the newest health fad, and the man suspected of a role in a couple’s disappearance was said to have ‘insanity’ from a head injury in the war

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

Patients from all over the region were flocking to the office of Dr. L.L. Stevens for radium treatment.

“People suffering from cancer, tumor, goiter and other similar diseases” were trying this innovative new treatment.

Stevens had recently returned from a training course about the use of radium and had brought with him 105 milligrams of radium, the first in the region.

“Spokane has taken very kindly to radium treatment,” said Stevens.

However, doctors were only beginning to understand the dangers of radiation exposure.

From the police beat: Roy Waters, a bad-check artist, was being held in the Spokane County Jail while police tried to determine what connection, if any, he had with the disappearance of a Missouri couple.

So far, police had learned a few details about Waters. He was a graduate of Vanderbilt University and had served as an aviator during the war. He suffered a head injury, “which caused insanity.”

His father sent a telegraph to Spokane saying that his son had escaped from an insane asylum and embarked on a cross-country trip funded by bad checks. When he checked in at the Davenport Hotel, he told clerks that he was an airplane salesman.

Some of these details corroborated his own claim, after his arrest, that he was insane.

He was found in possession of two railroad passes issued to the missing St. Louis couple. It was unclear how he had obtained those passes.

From the business beat: Consolidated Diamond Oil was preparing to build an oil refinery in Spokane, to handle crude oil from Montana and other districts.

Spokane beat out Great Falls in the competition to land the refinery.

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