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News / Life / Clark County Life

This week in Clark County history

By — Katie Bush, public historian at the Clark County Historical Museum
Published: March 1, 2024, 6:00am

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

The Clark County sheriff, Vancouver police chief and Portland law enforcement announced a collaborative effort to break up an automobile theft ring on Feb. 25, 1924. Six individuals were arrested. Central to the case was local garage operator Arthur Henges, who acted as the “fence” for the automobiles, which were pilfered in Portland and brought back to Vancouver.

  • 75 years ago

On the evening of March 1, 1949, an explosion from a booby trap in the attic of a McLoughlin Heights home rattled everyone in a 20-block radius. When resident Lawrence Sharp flipped the bathroom light switch, the blast was triggered in a different part of his dwelling. Sharp survived after being rushed to the hospital. The following month, a second explosion demolished the family’s home, as well as neighboring residences. After a few months of investigations, federal authorities arrested Jean Sharp, son of Lawrence Sharp, who was found not guilty by reason of insanity and committed to a state institution.

  • 50 years ago

On Feb. 28, 1974, the Ridgefield City Council held a special meeting to discuss a year-round dog leash ordinance. About 15 people attended a public meeting to discuss the new law, which would replace the city’s six-month leash ordinance, put into effect “to control dogs during gardening season.” The proposed leash law would require a $5 annual license for all pups, and a maximum fine of $100 for noncompliance. Discussions were intense, leading Ridgefield City Clerk-Treasurer Clarice Studdard to note, “I’m amazed at the furor the dog problem has created. We don’t have reactions anything like this about the rising crime rate.” Despite the hubbub, the ordinance ultimately went into effect.

  • 25 years ago

One year after being listed as one of Vancouver’s Heritage Trees, the American elm in front of the Clark County Historical Museum received a dire diagnosis from city arborist Elizabeth Walker on Feb. 26, 1999. While Walker, Pat Jollota, and other tree champions successfully helped the tree fight off Dutch elm disease, it began showing signs of root rot, “a condition with no cure.” Despite the discovery, efforts to save the tree were successful, and it stands in front of the museum today.