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Thursday, April 2, 2020  Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883
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News >  Spokane

Jim Kershner’s this day in history

From our archives, 100 years ago

The Spokesman-Review editorial page was celebrating a new “epoch for Spokane” with the formal opening of a new transcontinental rail line through Spokane. It was a “union” line, a joint venture of the Oregon-Washington Railway & Navigation Co. and the Chicago, Milwaukee and St. Paul, known as the Milwaukee Road. 

“Their joint road gives the city a new outlet to the Coast and thence to California, supplying a rich region with additional facilities for transportation,” the editorial said.

It also gave Spokane “direct communication” to the east on the Milwaukee Road’s main line to southern Montana, South Dakota and Chicago. This new joint line rendered unnecessary the former “southerly detour from Spokane to Plummer Junction” on the old Milwaukee Road route. Spokane already had other transcontinental rail lines, but this new development would help cement Spokane’s status as the rail crossroads of the Inland Northwest.

The fact that top executives of the railroads were attending the “golden spike” ceremony was testimony to the “significance of the new railway development,” the editorial said.

When executives arrived by train a day before, they stopped the train just short of Cedar Street and took autos the rest of the way into Spokane.

Why? So the upcoming “golden spike” ceremony truly would celebrate the first train to enter the new Union Station.

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