Arrow-right Camera


Jim Kershner’s This day in history

From our archives, 100 years ago

Miners Joe Spellgati and Joe Bisigh were on their way to work at the Idora Mine outside of Wallace when they heard an ominous, thundering noise.

It was an avalanche, barreling down into the valley from Sunset Peak.

It engulfed the two miners, “burying them under tons of snow and earth.” The same avalanche wreaked havoc on the three mines of the area, the Idora, Parrott and Tuscumbia, damaging them significantly.

However, the area was so remote that the slide was not discovered until 11 a.m. Rescue parties arrived from Wallace. but by 2 p.m. the bodies had still not been recovered.

The avalanche was triggered by a chinook – an unseasonably warm wind – that caused a sudden thaw throughout the Inland Northwest.

Normal railroad operations were suspended because of a high likelihood of floods and washouts. The Union Park area of Spokane was particularly vulnerable, since it had a history of “dangerous and destructive high water.”

Meanwhile, conditions were so bad in the mountains that “miners in the more dangerous districts are being asked to leave.”

Also on this date

(From the Associated Press)

1519: Holy Roman Emperor Maximilian I died.