On December 6, 1918 The Seattle Daily Times announced that the upcoming Queen Anne High School and Franklin High School football games scheduled for that day were called off as a precautionary measure to fight the spread of the Spanish Flu. The final two championship playoff games scheduled for the weekend, Lincoln vs. Broadway and West Seattle vs. Ballard, were cancelled as well.
The order was issued by the Board of Education at the request of Dr. Ira Brown, Medical Inspector of Seattle Public Schools. Brown said of the decision to effectively end the 1918-1919 high school football season,
The schools are free from influenza and we want to keep them that way. If the games were attended by only school boys and girls, there would be no danger, but under present conditions we deem the action a necessary precaution.
The influenza pandemic was first detected in Washington state during the first week of October, 1918 and closure of all Seattle schools, theaters and restaurants was announced on the front page of the October 5th edition of The Seattle Daily Times. On November 3, statewide orders required surgical masks “entirely covering the nose and mouth” be worn in all public places where people came into close contact. Seattle’s bans were lifted by mid-November as cases ebbed, but intermittent school closures continued with fluctuations in case numbers for the six months that the city battled the virus. By the time it was over, the pandemic had claimed the lives of approximately 1,500 Seattleites.
Queen Anne High School Grizzlies football players pose for the 1918-1919 yearbook. The football season was cut short by the influenza pandemic.