It’s 2020 and Oregonians, together with the rest of the nation, are worried about the outbreak and impact of the corona virus. It’s not the first time our State has faced an epidemic. 102 years ago, another virus plagued the nation and arrived in French Prairie: the “Spanish Flu”. The disease ( a variant of the H1N1 influenza) was first reported in Portland in October 1918, and Portland’s Health Officer, George Parish, was “…confident that preventative measures and the application of proper precautions on the part of citizens will serve to hold the malady at a minimum.” By December, though, the infection had quickly spread, and quarantines were common place.
St. Paul was no exception, and many residents were afflicted to the point that the City Council declared an epidemic and passed an Ordinance to require and enforce a mandatory quarantine. By the spring of 1920, the deadly disease disappeared around the globe, as mysteriously as it had appeared.
Read the 1918 St. Paul Ordinance #46: Spanish Flu