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Jim Kershner’s this day in history

From our archives, 100 years ago

Spokane was making plans to dedicate its first public swimming pool at what it called the “Sinto Triangle” near the Mission Avenue bridge.

Spokane swimmers had long enjoyed the Plunge pool at Natatorium Park and the area’s rivers and lakes. Yet this was the first municipal pool.

The city’s Park Board knew it already had a hit on its hands. They had opened the pool a week early because of the hot weather, even though the buildings weren’t finished yet.

“I think this feature is bound to be one of the most popular investments of the Park Board,” the chairman said. He added, “To date it is safe to say that the pools have saved the lives of many boys by keeping them out of the river.”

Also from the swimming beat: Yet the river continued to be a dangerous attraction for Spokane boys. One boy, 9, “walked daringly” out on a platform near the Minnehaha Dam and tried to cross the river. He slipped and was “swept to the brink of a deep pool.”

He was able to wedge his hand in a knothole in the platform but was unable to pull himself to safety.

His brother, 12, attempted to rescue him, but he too was swept into the water. Neither boy could do anything but yell for help. At first, passers-by thought they were joking.

Finally, some young men arrived “who appeared to understand the situation.” The men grasped hands, formed a chain, and drew the boys to safety, just when the boys’ strength was ebbing.

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