A weekly look back compiled by the Clark County Historical Museum from The Columbian archives available at columbian.newspapers.com or at the museum.
100 years ago
Robert Page entered a plea of temporary insanity during his May 1923 manslaughter case. The Columbian reported that experts found Page imbibed a concoction of “64 per cent grain alcohol, a quantity of red pepper and between one and two per cent wood alcohol,” ultimately leading him to hit and kill Victor J. Berg while driving. Page’s wife alleged he was a “light drinker,” but on the night in question, “his mind was not functioning properly and he was not cognizant of what he did.” Ultimately found guilty about a month later, Robert Page was sentenced to serve between one and 20 years by Judge George B. Simpson.
75 years ago
Members of the new Progressive Party in Clark County asked county commissioners to “go on record as opposing the Mundt bill.” Also known as the Mundt-Nixon bill or Subversive Activities Control Act of 1948, the legislation would have required Communist Party members and sources of materials related to communist groups to register with the attorney general. Woodland sawmill worker and Progressive Party member William Baker expressed concern at the bill, warning “grave injustices could creep in from its wording.” The Mundt bill passed in the U.S. House of Representatives on May 19, but failed to move out of the Senate.
50 years ago
On May 17, 1973, an Arco station on Fourth Plain Boulevard announced it was “out of gas due to shortage” and would only be doing mechanical work. The station received a letter stating it would receive a quota based on the previous year’s sales. With a ration set at 13,000 gallons of gas for the month, Manager Don Zintz told The Columbian that the station had “been trying to beg, borrow or steal some gas but it looks like the boss and I are going to get a week’s vacation without pay.” The gas crisis started when OPEC raised oil prices by 70 percent in October 1973. Although successful negotiations between the U.S. and OPEC led to lifting the embargo in March 1974, the Iranian Revolution caused additional oil woes five years later.
25 years ago
On May 18, 1998, The Columbian reported the city of Vancouver would repeal license fees on “electronic amusement machines.” The fees were initially enacted due to “fear that video games might spark problem behaviors — like loitering, vandalism and thievery — among young people and require police attention.” The anticipated juvenile delinquency never came to fruition. Already behind the curve, arcades had been swiftly losing ground to home gaming systems such as Nintendo and PlayStation.
Katie Bush is public historian at the Clark County Historical Museum