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The Spokesman-Review Newspaper
Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883

100 years ago today: A call for ‘American moral normalcy’

From the May 11, 1921 Spokane Daily Chronicle.  (Spokesman-Review archives)
By Jim Kershner The Spokesman-Review

As the Roaring ’20s started to gain steam, Wilbur F. Crafts arrived in Spokane to advocate a return to “American moral normalcy.”

“American moral normalcy means a general slowing up of America’s post-war speed, moral reforms of all sorts,” said the secretary of the International Reform Bureau. “It calls for cleaner motion pictures, fewer divorces, more reverence of womanhood, banishment of morphine, no ‘medicinal’ beer or any other kind, no smoking for women or minors, saner dresses for women, no night automobile parties for girls and women, a new code of manners, dropping of ‘French methods,’ and a true American observance of Sunday.”

Craft, a Presbyterian minister, did not specify exactly what he meant by “French methods.”

From the court beat: Attorneys for P. Clive Heddle, on trial for manslaughter, attempted to blame the streetcar company for the accident that killed three passengers in Heddle’s car.

Heddle plowed head-on into a streetcar when returning from a raucous dance-hall evening. His attorneys tried to show that the streetcar was going too fast.

However, some witnesses testified that Heddle was racing down Northwest Boulevard at 55 miles per hour.

In another trial, police testified that the proprietors of the Motor Inn, one of Spokane’s most notorious speakeasies, were surprised when police raided it in force.

“I wasn’t expecting to see you fellows,” said the proprietor.

“I told him that we did not make a practice of sending in our cards to announce our calls,” said a deputy.