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Jim Kershner’s This day in history

Thu., July 22, 2010

From our archives, 100 years ago

A huge windstorm caused the temporary wooden archway on the Monroe Street Bridge to collapse. Two dozen workers scrambled to safety. Two were injured as the structure twisted in the wind and plummeted into the river far below.

The wooden archway was to be used as the frame to build the new, modern concrete span over the Spokane River at Monroe Street. The collapsing archway knocked a hole in the Washington Water Power Co.’s power plant beneath the bridge.

The accident was a serious setback to the bridge project, which was proving to have a high human cost. Since work had started in the spring of 1910, one worker had died and three others were seriously injured. This accident brought the casualty toll to seven.

The concrete bridge wouldn’t be completed until 1911.

From the accident beat: A prospector on the lonely upper St. Joe River in Idaho was trying to fix his chimney when he fell from the roof of his cabin, injured his spine and lay paralyzed for two days.

He would have died, 50 feet from his cabin, if not for hunters who passed by and heard his groans. He was transported to Taft, Mont., and then to the hospital in Wallace.

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