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Opinion >  Column

100 years ago in the Inland Northwest: Trains were blamed for the fires near Deer Park, and a new device hid women’s ‘dainty silk hosiery’ on the witness stand

 (S-R archives)
(S-R archives)

A dozen fires were raging in the Deer Park area north of Spokane and the area fire warden laid the blame directly on the Great Northern Railway.

“These blazes were set by passing locomotives, which are not equipped with spark arresters, and shower the right-of-way and adjacent territory with live embers,” Fire Warden Stevens said.

“This is one of the worse menaces we have to combat and it would lessen fire hazards materially if the railway company could be prevailed upon to put spark catchers on its locomotive stacks,” he added.

Meanwhile, other fires continued to spread through the Priest River area. Dozens of men were sent out to battle the blazes.

From the court beat: A wooden screen was installed in the courtroom of Judge Huneke “to conceal the legs of women on the elevated witness stands.”

The main purpose was apparently to protect the modesty of female witnesses and defendants. Yet The Spokesman-Review said, somewhat oddly, that the screen would also serve another purpose: “Fair prisoners and witnesses who exhibit dainty silk hosiery in front of men jurors in the Superior Court to elicit sympathy, will find themselves thwarted.”

On this day

(From Associated Press)

1821: Spain ceded Florida to the United States.

1918: Russia’s Czar Nicholas II and his family were executed by the Bolsheviks.

1975: An Apollo spaceship docked with a Soyuz spacecraft in orbit in the first superpower link-up of its kind.

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