Arrow-right Camera
News >  Spokane

Jim Kershner’s this day in history

From our archives, 100 years ago

Spokane was planning a massive celebration for a landmark event: the arrival of a new “transcontinental” passenger train into Spokane from the east.

The new Chicago, Milwaukee & St. Paul Railroad passenger route would be a “through train” all the way from Chicago to Seattle. It was not exactly coast-to-coast, but it was apparently enough to qualify for the label of “transcontinental.”

“We are going to operate … the finest train that Spokane has ever seen,” said the railroad’s vice president. “That sounds rather boastful, but I know the people of Spokane will agree with me after they see that train.”

The railroad planned to bring 30 high company officials into Spokane on the train for a “monster celebration.” Among the officials: Percy Rockefeller and a group of his fellow New York financiers.

Railroad officials assured Spokane that every one of its east- and westbound transcontinental trains would be routed through Spokane.

The Milwaukee Road, as it was commonly called, was bidding to compete with the Great Northern and the Northern Pacific for long-distance passengers across the northern tier of states.

Also on this date

(From the Associated Press)

1965: Civil rights demonstrators led by the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. began their third march from Selma to Montgomery, Ala.

Top stories in Spokane

Then and Now: Comstock Park

James M. Comstock, born in 1838 in Wisconsin, arrived in Spokane in time to witness the great fire of 1889 and start Spokane Dry Goods with Robert Paterson. It became the Crescent, Spokane’s premier department store for a century. He also worked in real estate and owned other businesses. He served a term as Spokane mayor, starting in 1899. James Comstock died in 1918.