Jim Kershner’s This day in history

TUESDAY, SEPT. 21, 2010

From our archives, 100 years ago

“A large corps of engineers and draughtsmen” were hard at work on a stunning new building in Spokane: a “union” railroad depot.

The Spokane Daily Chronicle said that five railroad lines were collaborating on this project, including the Union Pacific, the Milwaukee Road and the North Coast Railway.

Conspicuously absent from this “union” of railroads: The Great Northern line of James J. Hill.

“We have made numerous overtures to Mr. Hill, but have been repulsed every time,” said Robert Strahorn of the North Coast.

Four years later, Spokane’s Union Station (the word “depot” having gone out of style) opened on the north side of Trent Avenue between Stevens and Washington streets.

According to some accounts, the Union Station was originally planned a block west, but the Union Pacific chief of engineering came out and saw the Great Northern Depot looming across the river. He decided to move the Union Station to obstruct the Great Northern’s view.

The Union Station was demolished in 1973 as part of plans for Expo ’74. Riverfront Park’s big Red Wagon now occupies the site.

Also on this date

(From the Associated Press)

1937: “The Hobbit,” by J.R.R. Tolkien, was first published.

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