100 years ago in Spokane: Urban farmers with cows squeezed by new Washington law

May 11, 2019

Urban farming was becoming more difficult in Washington.

Owners of dairy cows in cities were learning of a recently-passed state law that created significant obstacles for them to continue selling milk.

“The little girl who came to your back door with a pail to receive her quart of milk can come no longer, unless her order is filled in an up-to-date milk house, built along sanitary lines suggested by the milk trust of Spokane and other cities,” said W.F. Gum who lived at 2223 E. Sharp Ave. and owned a Jersey cow.

Gum blamed large milk distributors for the new law. Spokane Milk Inspector W. B. Reinwald stressed that the city did not lobby for the law and said that state inspectors, not himself, would be enforcing it.

Gum said he sold $1 worth of milk a day by selling milk for 12 1/2 cents a quart. But his feed bill was $20 a month.

“After selling enough milk to pay for the feed and a little for my trouble, I have enough milk left for my family, which is really my compensation for keeping the cow,” Gum told The Spokesman-Review.

From the auto beat: Car companies were moving back to pre-war automobile production, but there was a nationwide shortage due to “unusual demand of the motoring public.”

Not surprisingly, H. Goodrich, sales manager for the company that distributed Studebakers in the Inland Northwest, said he’d never seen such a demand for cars.

“I haven’t an unsold auto in the place and shipments from the factories in South Bend, Indiana, and Detroit are coming far too slow to suit,” he said.

Meanwhile, the Eldridge-Buick Company in Spokane tested a 1919 Buick light six touring car and broke the time record for travel from Latah to Spokane.

J.S. Bain drove the car with four passengers in 1 hour and 5 minutes, beating the old record held by F.W. Korameler of Latah. It also took an hour less less than the passenger train from Latah.

“With top and side curtains up the return trip from Latah was started at 4 p.m. and as soon as the railroad tracks were passed the throttle was opened wide,” The Spokesman-Review reported. “The steep, winding hill north of Latah was taken on high. The eight-mile run from Latah to Fairfield over dirt roads was made in 14 minutes, every hill being negotiated without a shift of gears.”

Meanwhile, The Spokesman-Review featured three woman who recently purchased cars.

Mrs. A. F. Shirley, bought a Willys-Knight sportster model 88-8. Soon after, she drove to Pasco.

“My trip down there was a revelation,” she said. “We found a beautifully paved road that surely made one want to keep on driving.”

From the college spirit beat: Washington State College was abandoning its annual tug-of-war battle between the freshman and sophomore classes across Lake de Puddle. Two freshmen collapsed from exhaustion during the battle that lasted nearly 30 minutes before college officials called it off. The two freshmen were rushed to the campus hospital but recovered fully.

Lake de Puddle, also known as Silver Lake, was filled in by the college in the 1920s.

From the accident beat: Floyd Lane, 16, accidentally killed Ernest Collins, 24, while examining a revolver in their room at the Lorraine hotel.

The two friends were from Indiana and were on their way to western Canada to hunt and trap for the summer.

“Collins who had just finished shaving was standing directly in the front of me examining a smaller revolver he had bought and he told me to take the larger gun, which was lying on the dresser and put in my pack,” Lane said. “I picked it up and was revolving the cylinder when it was discharged. I did not know that it was loaded, but I have no recollection of raising the hammer or touching the trigger and what caused it to go off I do not know.”

The boy was reportedly heartbroken and repeatedly broke down when talking about the accident. Authorities were satisfied that he told the truth.

Jim Kershner is on sabbatical.