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Jim Kershner’s this day in history

Fri., Jan. 24, 2014

From our archives, 100 years ago

The Spokane Fire Department was undergoing a profound change by going “horseless.”

With the addition of a new gasoline-powered firetruck and three “hose motors,” the fire department was down to only 20 horses, compared with 56 “of that noble tribe” three years earlier. The end was in sight for the rest of the horse brigade.

The Spokesman-Review’s editorial page noted that, from the taxpayer’s standpoint, this was a good thing. A “motor rig” cost a tenth of a horse rig.

Yet, “the small boy mourns,” and so did the editorial writer.

“The thunder of their hoofs on the hard and resounding street was the music of an anvil chorus, and shook the earth superbly,” said the editorial. “They reckoned nothing of life and limb, but spent themselves freely and gladly. … We shall never look upon their glorious like again.”

The writer concluded that, without the fire horse, “the play seems ‘Hamlet’ without Hamlet.”

From the banking beat: Spokane had still not given up in its hopeless (in retrospect) campaign to land the regional Federal Reserve Bank.

The editors urged business and political leaders to “oppose with all the force at their command” the establishment of the bank at San Francisco. Our region would inevitably be “overshadowed by California,” they warned.

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