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

100 years ago today in Spokane, the Jazz Age was in full swing for New Year’s revelries

By Jim Kershner For The Spokesman-Review

More than 1,800 revelers jammed the Davenport Hotel for a New Year’s Eve party, consisting of “85 percent jazz, with the remainder made up of conversation, whistles, popping balloons, cheers, singing and the hum of humans when they’re happy.”

“Everybody was there from flapper to dowager, from the tired businessman to the indefatigable wife,” The Spokesman-Review said.

The entertainment was provided by the hotel’s orchestra and a selection of singers and dancers.

“Mlle. Powlette Roadina proved as beautiful as advertised, and her ankles and legs were as shapely as her pictures,” said a correspondent on the scene. “She looked thrilling in a scarlet tunic with garlands of grapes and vine leaves.”

From the crime beat: Gunshots, as well as noisemakers, rang through the streets of Spokane on New Year’s Eve.

Police staged a running gun battle with two pistol-toting bandits who had shot a holdup victim, Harry A. Richards.

Richards was walking to the store to get some bread that evening when two men accosted him, stuck a gun in his stomach and said, “Stick ’em up.” The bandits did not realize that Richards was a “special officer” with Spokane police, and had a gun in his pocket. When Richards started to pull his gun, one of the bandits panicked and fired, hitting Richards in the abdomen. Richards managed to squeeze off a few rounds as he was falling, but did not hit anyone.

Police converged on the scene, rushed Richards to the hospital, and began a search. They saw the two suspects attempting to reach the railroad tracks. A car full of officers pursued them, opened fire and ordered them to stop.

One did, and was taken into custody. The other man fled behind a house. Police followed his footprints in the snow and found him hiding under a porch, where he surrendered without a fight.

Richards was undergoing surgery at Sacred Heart Hospital, and was said to have a “fighting chance.”