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Jim Kershner’s this day in history

Sun., Sept. 29, 2013, midnight

From our archives, 100 years ago

This was a momentous – and raucous – day in Spokane railroad history. The first regularly scheduled passenger trains of the Milwaukee Road (officially the Chicago, Milwaukee and St. Paul Railway Co.) departed from Spokane for points east, “thus officially opening the line for service between this city and the east.”

It was such a big event that Spokane’s well-known gambling and hotel magnate, Jacob (Dutch Jake) Goetz, decided to haul out his cannon (yes, he had one) and fire off a 21-gun salute as the first train departed. However, Dutch Jake had blasted off only a dozen or so shots before two police officers rushed to the scene and ordered him to cease shooting immediately.

Dutch Jake responded by touching off another round.

The officers hustled Dutch Jake to a police wagon. However, the city’s public safety commissioner (i.e., police commissioner) intervened and told the officers that, in effect, he had intended to grant permission for the shooting, but it had slipped his mind. 

So Dutch Jake was released from the police wagon, but too late to finish his 21-gun salute. The train was long gone. 

Also on this date

(From the Associated Press)

1907: The foundation stone was laid for the Washington National Cathedral, which wasn’t fully completed until this date in 1990.

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