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Opinion >  Column

100 years ago in Spokane: The Armistice Day celebrations of 1922 were a far cry from the ‘orgy of ribaldry’ the year before

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

Spokane’s Armistice Day celebration was described as “dignified,” “quiet” and “touching.”

This was a change from the celebration two years earlier, which had been described as “rowdy,” disgraceful” and an “orgy of ribaldry.” Drunken crowds got out of control and fought with police.

That event shocked the city, and authorities were determined it would never be repeated.

The 1922 Armistice Day (Veterans Day) celebration began with a solemn memorial service at All Saints Cathedral. It continued with a huge downtown parade featuring thousands of World War I veterans, along with military bands and convoys of machine guns and field pieces.

Thousands of spectators lined the streets. No disturbances were reported.

From the railroad beat: Spokane was also celebrating another great victory, in what was called the “freight rate case.”

For years, Spokane manufacturers, farmers and merchants had been fuming that the railroads charged lower freight rates from Pacific coast cities than from Spokane and other interior cities.

Finally, the Interstate Commerce Commission issued a sweeping ruling banning such discriminatory freight rates.

“It is the biggest thing that ever happened to Spokane and is a splendid victory, the result of years of combined effort on the part of the intermountain country,” the secretary of the Spokane Chamber of Commerce said. “… It absolutely precludes a return to the old discrimination.”

The Spokane Daily Chronicle called it an “armistice” of a different sort: A victory benefiting the city’s consumers, as well as producers.

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