Arrow-right Camera


Jim Kershner’s This day in history

From our archives,

100 years ago

A crowd estimated at 5,000 watched somberly as a fire obliterated Spokane’s South Central High School.

South Central was one of only two high schools in Spokane, serving the entire south side of town. It took an hour for it to be “reduced to a mass of ruins.” No students were inside, although three firemen were injured.

“The high steeple of the clock tower fell first, just as the chimes were striking the hour of 7 (a.m.), and crashed through the three floors of the main building to the ground,” said the Spokane Daily Chronicle.

Amidst the ruins, the school’s fountain, donated by the graduating class of 1910, continued to spout.

No one knew the cause of the fire and the paper said “it may never be known” (it never was). A janitor discovered flames in the basement when he arrived in the morning, possibly from the boiler room.

The school board vowed to rebuild South Central immediately. A new modern school was built on the same site in 1912, but it was not named South Central High School. It was named Lewis and Clark High School, which remains there to this day.

Also on this day

(From the Associated Press)

1788: The United States Constitution went into effect as New Hampshire became the ninth state to ratify it. … 1982: A jury in Washington, D.C., found John Hinckley Jr. not guilty by reason of insanity in the shootings of President Ronald Reagan and three other men.

Click here to comment on this story »