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Jim Kershner’s This Day in History


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From our archives, 50 years ago

Stanley G. Witter was retiring after 26 years as the city’s recreation supervisor, and he looked back with what the paper called a “modest satisfaction” at his career.

When he took over the job in 1934, the city had one golf course, four pools and eight playgrounds. At his retirement in 1960, the city had three golf courses, six swimming pools and 24 playgrounds.

He said that the passage of the 1958 swimming pool bond issue was “one of the happiest moments of his life.”

Today, the pool at Misson Park is named the Witter Aquatics Center, in his honor.

From the hobby beat: The Spokesman-Review ran a feature on a man with a newfangled hobby: tracking man-made satellites with a telescope. By 1960, 33 satellites had already been sent up, of which 19 were still in the sky.

He was Spokane’s only official satellite tracker, and he sent his observations to an organization that worked with NASA.

Also on this date

(From the Associated Press)

1541: Spanish explorer Hernando de Soto reached the Mississippi River. … 1973: American Indians who’d held the South Dakota hamlet of Wounded Knee for 10 weeks surrendered. … 1984: The Soviet Union announced it would boycott the upcoming Summer Olympic Games in Los Angeles.

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