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Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883
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News >  Spokane

100 Years Ago Today: More cars on the road meant more traffic fatalities

By Jim Kershner For The Spokesman-Review

The proliferation of autos over the 15 years since 1905 produced one especially unhappy result: a rash of traffic deaths.

Spokane had 18 traffic deaths in 1920, according to final statistics from the U.S. Census Bureau. This was an all-time record, reflecting the fact that autos were more numerous and capable of higher speeds than ever. In 1916, by comparison, there had been only five traffic deaths.

A second story on the front page of the Spokane Daily Chronicle was a reminder that the 1921 statistics were unlikely to show improvement. A 3-year-old, playing in the alley behind her house, had been run over and killed by a dairy delivery vehicle.

From the military beat: Fort Wright received some good news from the War Department.

The post would be retained as a military base, even while many other small posts were being abandoned.

A telegram from Washington, D.C., stated unequivocally that “Fort George Wright will be retained as a permanent part of the military establishment.”

“Permanent” would prove to be a stretch. Fort Wright was declared surplus in 1957.

From the obituary beat: Carol Rutter Kelly, 25, well-known in Spokane social circles, died at her parents’ home of malaria, which she had contracted while in China with her husband, Navy Lt. Lawrence E. Kelly.

She was the daughter of the president of the Spokane & Eastern Trust Co.; a former student at Spokane’s Brunot Hall; a former actress on the New York stage; and the mother of a 2-year-old daughter.

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