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Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883
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News >  Crime/Public Safety

100 years ago in Spokane: Police crack down on ‘cigar counter girls’

Police were enforcing a little-known law that prohibited girls and women from working at places “where dice, cards, pool or games of that nature are played.” Many cigar shops and pool halls doubled as card rooms.  (S-R archives)
Police were enforcing a little-known law that prohibited girls and women from working at places “where dice, cards, pool or games of that nature are played.” Many cigar shops and pool halls doubled as card rooms. (S-R archives)
By Jim Kershner The Spokesman-Review

The owner of a cigar stand was arrested for employing a “cigar counter girl.”

A little-known law forbade girls or women from being employed in a place “where dice, cards, pool or games of that nature are played.” Many cigar shops and pool halls doubled as card rooms.

Police served notice that they were cracking down on the problem. The cigar proprietor had been asked to comply with the law a month earlier, but ignored the request.

From the strike beat: The Great Northern and Northern Pacific railroads ordered their striking shopmen to return to work by 10 a.m. or lose their pension and seniority rights.

The strikers ignored this ultimatum.

The railroad executives responded by launching “an extensive campaign to fill all positions vacated by union men.”

The 1,800 strikers in Spokane, by the way, were not all union “men.”

At least two women were among the strikers. They had been hired during the labor shortages caused by the European war.

The Spokane Daily Chronicle reported that “feeling among the strikers was intensified today” when a dozen Black strikebreakers “were said to have been taken to the town in taxicabs” to replace some strikers.

No threats or intimidation were reported.

Also on this date

(From onthisday.com)

64: Emperor Nero sets fire to Rome.

1323: Thomas Aquinas is canonized a saint under Pope John XXII.

2019: One of the world’s earliest mosques – 1,200 years old – is discovered in Israel’s Negev Desert.

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