April 8, 2014 in City

Jim Kershner’s this day in history

By The Spokesman-Review

From our archives, 100 years ago

Owners of property on Riverside Avenue just east of Browne Street offered the city land for a public market.

They offered to provide reasonable rental rates to the city. If the city was not interested, they said they might be able to finance a market themselves.

They said it was an ideal site for a downtown municipal market because it was close to several streetcar lines.

Spokane’s commissioner of public utilities said he would pursue the offer.

From the pioneer beat: A surprisingly heated debate roiled the normally staid proceedings of the Spokane County Pioneers Society.

The issue: What constituted a pioneer? The current rule said that only those who came to Spokane before 1884 were eligible. Yet some members of the society wanted to expand membership by allowing people who came to Spokane anytime before 1889.

Many of the old-timers were indignant about this, saying derisively that it would admit people who came to Spokane on “palace cars,” i.e., railroad sleeper cars. “If we are pioneers, let’s be pioneers,” one old-timer said. “You can’t count me in as a pioneer if you let these other fellows in. I don’t want them to get the glory for what the pioneers did for this country.”

Francis H. Cook, a well-known pioneer, said that the newcomers would “vote us out of house and home.” When put to a vote, the proposal was roundly rejected.

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