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Opinion >  Column

100 years ago in Spokane: ‘Mysterious Girl’ was the big winner of the 1921 Spokane Derby

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

It was a big day at the Spokane Interstate Fair: Derby Day.

A record crowd of about 18,000 jammed the fairgrounds to see the biggest horse race of the year, the Spokane Derby.

The winner was Mysterious Girl, an entry from the George Drumheller stables in Walla Walla. Drumheller “accomplished his desire to win the Spokane Derby three years in succession.”

Miss Helen Huntington, the derby queen, crowned the winner.

Meanwhile, preparations were underway for a faux “aerial battle” to take place as part of the fair.

Lt. N.A. Mamer was planning to circle over downtown and drop “dummy bombs,” while ex-servicemen would man fake anti-aircraft guns and “return fire.”

Also from the fair beat: The games-of-chance purveyors at the Interstate Fair’s midway gave up their fight after being banned by the city and losing a court battle.

They packed up their booths and left town.

Most of these games were apparently some form of lottery or raffle, as opposed to, for instance, a ring-toss game.

From the court beat: Judge Hugo Oswald dismissed two racial discrimination lawsuits brought by Smallwood Goff and James Woodson.

They sued Walter Savage’s downtown drug store after Savage refused to serve them drinks from his soda fountain. He declared he “did not serve Negroes.”

Goff and Woodson sued for $2,500 in damages.

But Judge Oswald dismissed the suits on the seemingly dubious grounds that this situation was not covered by the state’s public accommodations statute.

The judge said “the operation of a drug store and soda fountain is a private business and does not come under the provisions of the statute in regard to public places of convenience or amusement.” The judge ruled that a drug store proprietor “can refuse to serve any customer if he chooses.”

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