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100 years ago in Spokane: The Davenport Hotel’s proprietor worried police were overstepping with hallway patrols

 (Spokane Daily Chronicle archives )

Louis Davenport was in a dispute with the Spokane Police Department over a basic question of privacy.

Davenport was unhappy that the officers were roaming the Davenport Hotel’s hallways at random. The issue arose in the middle of the massive Elks Lodge convention, with hundreds of Elks jamming the hotel.

Davenport said he took the position that “the hallways and rooms above the first floor of the hotel are private and not subject to invasion by officers without the proper warrant.”

He said his hotel guests had the same right to privacy as persons in a private dwelling.

Spokane’s police chief, however, had a different view.

“It is the policy of this department to have officers, usually in plain clothes to cause no offense, to go through all public places, especially when there are large numbers of people in the city,” Chief Weir said. “They are told not to conduct any investigations at all, but simply to see that all is orderly and that the laws regarding public places are being lived up to. Our officers were not given any special instructions regarding one particular hotel … . The policy is effective at all times, but especially when there is any large gathering, fraternal or otherwise.”

Davenport responded that his hotel was patrolled by his own house security people, day and night.

From the mayoral beat: Mayor Hugh Caldwell of Seattle and Mayor Charles Fleming – both Elks Lodge brothers – met in the lobby of the Davenport Hotel.

What did they talk about?

Both complained lightheartedly that the legislature had added several months to their terms. As Caldwell put it, “the legislature played a joke on me.”

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