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Jim Kershner’s This day in history

Sun., Oct. 9, 2011

From our archives, 100 years ago

President William Howard Taft headed to Mount Rainier after his Spokane visit – and nearly got stuck in the mud and snow.

Taft and a large entourage drove into Mount Rainier National Park and made it nearly to the base of the Nisqually Glacier. But then the clouds closed in.

“The machines became mired in mud up to the hubs,” wrote reporters on the scene. “After several hours the narrow road was completely blocked. Forest rangers, with teams of horses, finally cleared the way, but night had fallen and a storm threatened as the president started down.

“With searchlights blazing away, the president’s car slowly crept along the edges of the precipices and at times the outer wheels were within two feet of a sheer drop of 1,000 feet or more.”

But Taft and his party finally made it safely down to the train station at Ashford. The affable Taft declared that he “thoroughly enjoyed” the experience.

However, he also added that he was “much impressed with the necessity for additional government road building in the national parks.”

Also on this date

(From the Associated Press)

1888: The public was first admitted to the Washington Monument. … 1967: Latin American guerrilla leader Che Guevara was executed while attempting to incite revolution in Bolivia.

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