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News / Life / Clark County Life

This Week in Clark County History, May 3

By Katie Bush, public historian at the Clark County Historical Museum
Published: May 4, 2024, 6:01am

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

Sheriff William A. Thompson arrested suspected arsonist Max Poeth on April 30, 1924. State Fire Marshal W. A. Groce provided information that led to the apprehension of Poeth, who was alleged to have started “various mysterious fires which … occurred in the city during the last 30 days.” Investigators discovered a receipt made out to Poeth “in an oil-soaked vest” near one of the attempted conflagrations earlier in the month.

75 years ago

On May 4, 1949, city leaders began exploring options to make it easier for grocery stores to sell beer. The original ordinance, passed in 1939, limited the sale of liquor and beer to a specific downtown area. Fruit Valley grocer R.W. Churchman told commissioners that the law allowed “only five out of about 60 grocery stores in the city” to sell beer. Mayor Vern Anderson indicated a change would likely be made for barley pop, but “present regulations will be left on the sale of other liquors.”

50 years ago

The two owners of Bachelor Island declined the federal government’s $1.1 million offer to buy the 1,837-acre island on May 1, 1974. Bachelor Island Ranch Inc., a potato farm, and Bachelor Island Duck Club, a six-person private hunting club, both said they weren’t interested in selling. (Eventually they did sell; Bachelor Island became part of the Ridgefield Wildlife Refuge in 1985.)

25 years ago

On May 4, 1999, Gov. Gary Locke visited Vancouver “to help make the city’s convention center happen.” At Esther Short Park, Locke signed Senate Bill 5452, which helped pay for the convention center through sales tax revenue. Earlier in the year, Vancouver city officials traveled frequently to Olympia to lobby for the bill, and invited Locke to come to Southwest Washington for the signing ceremony.