100 years ago in Spokane: Whitworth College closes for year amid financial shortfalls

May 3, 2019

Beset by financial difficulties, Whitworth College closed for the 1918-19 school year.

Three representatives of the national Presbyterian Church, based in New York, arrived in Spokane on May 4, 1919, to decide whether Whitworth would reopen. Dr. L.E. Holden, said, “We have come here to feel the pulse of Spokane, to ascertain what the good people of this city want done about Whitworth.”

The church contemplated donating the rural campus to the city or reopening the college, which had a reputation for solid academics and religious education. “If there is a feeling of real need for Whitworth, we shall be glad to cooperate with the local leaders and those interested in building up either an endowment of, say, $500,000 or its equivalent, the payment of $75,000 a year for three years.”

From the crime beat: Joseph McDonald, 64, was arrested as a Bolshevik agent, having been found with literature identical to propaganda passed out during the Archangel campaign, an American intervention in Russia during the Bolshevik revolution in 1917-18. Patrolman Robert Higginbotham is credited with McDonald’s arrest after finding him slipping pamphlets under the doors of homes near Pine Street and Second Avenue.

From the bread beat: The Minneapolis Bakery, one of the “big three” bakeries in Spokane, was the first to capitulate to the demands of the striking bakers’ union. The Jessmer and Spokane bakeries had yet to meet the strikers’ demands. Manager J.E. Muzzy of the Jessmer Bakery said that his company could still put out 80% of its normal bread production with nonunion help. Emil Loaker, of the union’s publicity committee, bragged the union label would begin to appear on union-made bread at their contract bakeries.

Jim Kershner is on sabbatical