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

100 years ago today: Thriving Spokane apple industry slowly declines

 (Spokane Daily Chronicle Archives)
Jim Kershner The Spokesman-Review

Washington had established its place as the leading apple-shipping state in the U.S., and the Spokane region was one of the two largest apple-raising districts in the state.

Only the Wenatchee-Yakima region surpassed Spokane in apple production. Apple orchards covered huge stretches of the Spokane Valley. This is what gave Appleway Boulevard its name.

In 1923, the Spokane Valley Chamber of Commerce announced that in November it would hold its largest Spokane Valley Apple Show.

This sounded like evidence of a thriving apple industry, but it was deceiving. Beginning in 1908, Spokane hosted a much bigger annual apple convention, the National Apple Show, but that was abandoned by 1918.

By 1923, Spokane’s apple industry was in the midst of a slow decline. Growers here could not compete with the apples coming out of the Wenatchee and Yakima region. Farmers in the Spokane Valley would soon switch to other, more profitable crops.

From the baseball beat: A fracas between some 10-year-old baseball players and a 25-year-old baker resulted in a hearing in the police court.

R.D. Arnstadt, the baker, had been asked by the boys to be their umpire. He agreed, but soon grew tired of the job and went back into the bakery, which bordered the makeshift field.

Soon afterward, one of the boys hit a ball that rolled into the bakery. Arnstadt grabbed that ball and threw it out so forcibly that the ball was declared lost.

One of the 10-year-olds angrily told Arnstadt that he had better “find the ball or pay for it.” He refused to do either and a tussle ensued, during which one of the 10-year-olds was thrown to the ground.

Arnstadt was arrested for third-degree assault. Arnstadt said he accidentally bumped into the boy.

Arnstadt was acquitted of assault, but the judge ordered him to buy the boys a new 75-cent baseball.