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Opinion >  Column

100 years ago in Spokane: A moonshiner’s still exploded, and a prominent religious figure was made a ‘director of Americanization’

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

When firefighters arrived at a house fire on East DeSmet Avenue, it didn’t take long to find the cause: a moonshine still, with several barrels of mash inside.

Moonshiner Frank Johnson was apparently cooking the mash with an oil stove, but he overcooked it. The stove became so hot it exploded.

Police said they expected to make an arrest in the case.

Also from the Prohibition beat: In related news, federal Prohibition agent F.A. Hazeltine said “enormous supplies” of booze were still being smuggled into the Northwest.

Most of this was bonded whisky from Canada. But he said homemade moonshine was also a serious problem, mainly because it was sometimes poisonous.

From the Americanization beat: The Rev. William C. Hicks, recently resigned as dean of Spokane’s All Saints Cathedral, was selected to become the American Legion’s new “director of Americanization” for the state.

“The presence of so many openly avowed enemies of constitutional government and the necessity of constructive education lasting through the years has prompted the American Legion to undertake this great work,” Hicks said.

The Legion said that “districts of the state where foreign-born residents are numerous would receive first attention.”

Also on this day

(From the Associated Press)

1942: Nazi officials held the notorious Wannsee conference, during which they arrived at their “final solution” that called for exterminating Europe’s Jews.

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