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First town marshal honored

Thu., May 17, 2007

In 1881, Spokane wasn’t even officially “Spokane” yet. It was still Spokane Falls, in the Territory of Washington, and the newly formed town of around 1,000 people needed a marshal.

Robert W. Forrest, the town’s first appointed mayor, appointed Eugene B. Hyde the first marshal.

He became the first elected marshal, or chief of police in 1883, a position he held until 1885.

Now he’s been honored with his own monument just in front of his grave at Greenwood Memorial Terrace.

“Thank you for his service,” Vern Buckley, police chaplain, said in a prayer at the beginning of the dedication.

The Spokane Police Department History Book Committee, the Spokane Law Enforcement Museum and the Fairmount Memorial Association dedicated the new monument in a ceremony May 10.

A Police Department honor guard saluted Hyde when the monument was unveiled by Glen Whiteley, the curator, founder and president of the Spokane Law Enforcement Museum, who wore an old-time police uniform to honor the times when Hyde led the force.

Police Department members, including Assistant Chief Jim Nicks, were at the ceremony to pay tribute to Hyde.

Hyde and his family were prominent figures in Spokane. His story, and that of his siblings, is engraved on the monument, along with a picture of the mustachioed chief.

He first moved to Spokane in the spring of 1881 and immediately got involved in the real estate business.

After working as the town’s chief of police for four years, he was elected alderman. He unsuccessfully ran for mayor in 1887, but in 1891 was elected to a two-year term as a state senator.

He also returned to the real estate business to build the three-story Hyde Block which burned down during the great fire, but was later rebuilt on the same site with six stories.

He and his wife, Florence, left Spokane in 1912 for a warmer climate due to his declining health. When he died in 1917, his body was returned to Spokane for burial. His grave is next to the Ridpaths’ and the Peytons’.

His brother, Samuel, was the prosecuting attorney for Eastern Washington from 1880 to 1886. He served in the U.S. Congress from 1895 to 1897 and served as the justice of the peace in Spokane from 1904 until he died in 1922.

Another brother, Rollin, was a schoolteacher before he moved to Spokane. He also dealt in real estate and built the Fernwell Block after the great fire. He later moved to Davenport, Wash., to homestead and get into the timber industry.

Martha Hyde, their sister, was one of the first schoolteachers in Spokane Falls. She later married John Blalock, the contractor and owner of the Blalock Block on Sprague and Howard.

Sue Walker, the chairwoman of the Spokane Police Department History Book Committee, thanked everyone involved with the project, especially Duane Broyles, the president of the Fairmount Memorial Association and his staff of artists who designed and engraved the monument.

The three groups involved in this memorial hope to one day establish a walking tour of Spokane history-makers in the cemetery.

“The names engraved on these monuments seem to have the effect of bringing them back to life,” Walker said.

At the end of the ceremony, Chief Petty Officer N. A. Rolfe of the U.S. Navy played taps.

The Hyde monument is the third history marker in the cemetery.


 

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