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Jim Kershner’s this day in history

Fri., Aug. 23, 2013

From our archives, 100 years ago

About 39 acres of land on the edge of the South Hill, facing Hangman Creek, were condemned by the city at the request of the Spokane Park Board for the purpose of building a “proposed southwest boulevard along the brow of the bluff.”

Most of the land was “over the brow of the South Hill, with just a strip on top sufficient for the proposed drive.”

This was apparently setting the stage for what we know today as High Drive.

From the bridge beat: The president of Oregon-Washington Railroad & Navigation Co. sent a letter to the mayor reiterating the railroad’s intention to build an unsightly steel-girder bridge directly over the graceful concrete Monroe Street Bridge. Many Spokane residents were appalled at the idea of an ugly steel bridge at the site and had urged the railroad to switch to a concrete design, “enhancing, rather than distracting, from the beauty of the falls.”

The railroad president said, essentially, that switching to a concrete bridge would be too expensive and take too much time. He ended the letter by saying that if the city persists in requesting a concrete bridge, “I must say with the utmost frankness that we can not entertain it.”

An editorial in The Spokesman-Review said it boiled down to this: The railroad was willing to “deface” Spokane’s most beautiful bridge just to put more money in its shareholders’ pockets.

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