Arrow-right Camera
News >  Spokane

Jim Kershner’s this day in history

From our archives, 100 years ago

A large body of water called Saltese Lake once existed just southwest of Liberty Lake. It was drained by farmers, spawning a complicated series of lawsuits in 1914.

Peter Morrison, a farmer, had claimed much of the drained land and fenced it. However, one night in March 1914, a group of seven “squatters” entered the land, tore down Morrison’s fences and occupied plots of land.

They claimed they had a right to the land, because it had become public domain after being drained. Morrison certainly didn’t agree, and he filed seven separate suits against each of the squatters and asked for writs of restitution of his land pending resolution of the suit.

Meanwhile, on another corner of the old lakebed, it was a squatter, Louis H. Dence, who filed suit against a property owner, Col. William M. Ridpath. Ridpath owned part of the lake’s old shoreline and had claimed the adjacent lakebed, too. Yet Dence contended that Ridpath’s title did not carry over to the old lakebed.

Both suits were still pending. Meanwhile, the squatters refused to budge.

The memory of Saltese Lake lingers today in the name of a road, South Saltese Lake Road, and the area now known as Saltese Flats.

Also on this date

(From the Associated Press)

1912: The RMS Titanic set sail from Southampton, England, on its ill-fated maiden voyage.