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Jim Kershner’s this day in history

Sun., March 23, 2014, midnight

From our archives, 100 years ago

A custodian making the rounds of the Realty Building came upon the body of Patrick S. Byrne, 58, Spokane’s mayor from 1901 to 1903.

Byrne had died earlier that night of what the paper described as “apoplexy.” The custodian found his body in the lavatory of the building, where he maintained an office.

Byrne had been a prominent figure in Spokane even before his term as mayor. He was a pioneer physician, having earned his medical degree from Bellevue Hospital’s medical college in New York. He arrived in Spokane in 1889 and practiced medicine and also became a wealthy real estate investor and developer.

He was deeply involved in politics and also served as a county commissioner. He also ran, unsuccessfully, for governor and U.S. representative.

From the crime beat: Three masked gunmen rushed into John Fuelner’s saloon on Third and Pine, forced the bartender and patrons to put their hands up, and then robbed the till.

They told everyone to stay inside and then rushed out the door with their loot. But the patrons immediately gave chase and began beating two of them with a bottle. The bandits were able to struggle free and escape.

The third gunman wasn’t so lucky. An officer on the beat tackled him and held his face in the dirt until he capitulated.

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