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Jim Kershner’s This day in history

Tue., Dec. 7, 2010

From our archives, 100 years ago

A janitor at the Federal Building in Spokane was chatting with Ah Tuen Lee, a “pioneer Spokane Chinaman” – and became alarmed when Lee told him how much cash he was carrying.

He had $13,000 stashed in the folds of his coat.

Lee had withdrawn all of his savings from the bank in preparation for a trip to his homeland, apparently to help out family members during a rice famine.

The janitor alerted the federal marshal, who “took him in charge for fear that an enterprising ‘white devil’ would take it away from him.”

All went well and Lee obtained the necessary paperwork for his trip to China. Lee had arrived in America in 1882 and had washed clothes and tended a five-acre garden on East Sprague – quite lucratively.

From the City Hall beat: The city announced plans for a grand new eight-story Spokane City Hall at Wall Street and Front Avenue (today’s Spokane Falls Boulevard).

The plans called for a 258-seat council chamber, a fire station, a police station, a police court, a city jail occupying most of the seventh floor and an “emergency hospital.”

The cost was estimated at $500,000.

Also on this date

(From the Associated Press)

1941: Imperial Japanese warplanes attacked the U.S. Navy base at Pearl Harbor in Hawaii.

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