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Jim Kershner’s This day in history

Thu., Oct. 6, 2011

From our archives, 100 years ago

The great railroad mogul James J. Hill – who gave his name to Hillyard – stepped off of his train and proceeded to dump a great vat of cold water on Spokane.

“Sure, I’m glad to be here, but I’ve got nothing for Spokane this time,” he growled on the train platform. “Spokane is an unappreciative town and that old chestnut of doing something for this city is all bush.”

Hill and the other Great Northern officials were on a “development tour” of the Northwest. This had raised hopes that Hill might bring more projects to benefit Spokane, the way the big railroad yards in Hillyard had brought jobs and money. No such luck.

Hill’s son, Louis W. Hill, the president of the Great Northern, was more diplomatic. He said his dad loved “this great Western country.” But he confirmed “that nothing in the line of development is being planned by the Great Northern for this city.”

He added that “the old principle of getting something for nothing – never worked and won’t work now.”

Also on this date

(From the Associated Press)

1979: Pope John Paul II became the first pontiff to visit the White House, where he was received by President Jimmy Carter. … 1981: Egyptian President Anwar Sadat was shot to death by extremists while reviewing a military parade.

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