August 26, 2010 in City

Jim Kershner’s This day in history

By Correspondent

From our archives, 100 years ago

For almost two years, a controversial project called the “Sprague Avenue fill” had been dragging on and on.

Finally, the project’s critics had their fears confirmed: A cave-in killed two workmen and seriously injured another.

This massive earth-moving project was the city’s attempt to smooth out the route of East Sprague between about Arthur and Ivory streets (near the present Hamilton Street interchange). The project first created controversy when it was clear work was proceeding more slowly than planned.

Then, people began to realize that the project was downright dangerous. Shifting mountains of fill dirt were creating an open hazard for workmen and also for street cars and other conveyances as they crossed the fill area. Long before this tragic episode, the city had been forced to defend itself from numerous damage suits from previous cave-ins.

In this incident, a 34-year-old father of three and an English laborer were killed instantly when a mass of falling rock descended on them without warning. Another had his jaw broken and numerous internal injuries.

The crash, said The Spokesman- Review, was heard for blocks.

Also on this date

(From the Associated Press)

1958: Alaskans went to the polls to vote overwhelmingly in favor of statehood.

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