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Opinion >  Column

100 years ago in Spokane: Driving was becoming more popular, and the county had the numbers to prove it

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

One local statistic showed exactly how fast the auto had become the county’s predominant method of transportation.

On July 30, 1921, Spokane County issued auto license No. 20,000 for the year.

This meant that the county had already issued nearly as many licenses in 1921 as it had in all of 1920.

The proliferation of autos was even more astonishing compared to five years earlier. In 1916, the county issued 8,345 licenses for the entire year.

And the 1921 number apparently did not fully capture the number of autos on the road. A separate story in the same day’s Chronicle noted that many motorists lacked licenses, and the sheriff was vowing to crack down on them.

From the crime beat: James O’Brien, believed to have robbed two Spokane gas stations a week earlier, was under arrest in Mount Vernon, Washington.

He was also lying in a Mount Vernon hospital with a bullet in his neck. Mount Vernon police discovered O’Brien and a partner-in-crime driving an auto stolen from a Spokane auto dealer.

When police tried to arrest them, a gunfight ensued. A deputy was injured, O’Brien’s partner was killed, and O’Brien was shot in the neck.

Police described him as a “desperado.”

Also on this day

(From Associated Press)

1908: The first round-the-world automobile race, which had begun in New York in February, ended in Paris with the drivers of the American car, a Thomas Flyer, declared the winners over teams from Germany and Italy.

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