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100 years ago in North Idaho: Coeur d’Alene River overflows, aweeping away bridges from Cataldo to Harrison

The Coeur d’Alene River surged over its banks and swept away every county bridge from Cataldo to Harrison, the Spokane Daily Chronicle reported on Jan. 2, 2018. (Spokesman-Review archives)
The Coeur d’Alene River surged over its banks and swept away every county bridge from Cataldo to Harrison, the Spokane Daily Chronicle reported on Jan. 2, 2018. (Spokesman-Review archives)

The Coeur d’Alene River surged over its banks and swept away every county bridge from Cataldo to Harrison.

“Rivermen and loggers are battling the most treacherous series of log jams known in the river’s logging history,” said the Spokane Daily Chronicle.

Floodwaters poured into the diked yards of the Rose Lake Lumber Co. Water was a foot deep in the company store.

“Millions of feet of logs belonging to members of the Coeur d’Alene Log Owners Association have broken their booms and are being spread over the meadows for miles on both sides of the river.”

Between $400,000 and $500,000 in damage was already reported, and it was expected to get worse. The flooding was so bad that the “river had changed its channel at Lane.”

And that wasn’t the only river that was raging.

The Spokane River equaled its highest-ever high-water record. No damage was yet reported, but residents were watching nervously as the river continued to rise.

From the war beat: Dan Volch, an Austrian living in Spokane, told the local draft board in a questionnaire that he was not “willing to enter the American service, and neither is he willing to return to his native country to help it in its fight.”

Carl Walter, a German living in Spokane, also said he was unwilling to fight either for the United States or Germany.

Because of these answers, both men were subsequently classed as “enemy aliens.”


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