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The Spokesman-Review Newspaper The Spokesman-Review

Thursday, April 9, 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

One of the “great engineering feats performed by man” – the Snoqualmie Tunnel of the Milwaukee Road – was completed and ready for traffic.

Workers were calling it the “lucky tunnel” because not one life was lost during its two-plus years of construction. The Spokesman-Review’s story claimed “this is the first time in the history of the world that such a great project was completed without the loss of life.”

The tunnel was bored through 2 ½ miles of solid rock in the Cascades, beneath today’s Snoqualmie Pass. Its completion meant Milwaukee Road trains would no longer be delayed by snow blockades, which were common in the Cascade passes.

“It will also greatly lower the cost of operation on the western end of the Milwaukee system,” by reducing the number of extra engines required to pull trains over the pass.

From the snake beat: Workers discovered four large rattlesnakes, three dead, in a box labeled Edgewood Butter in a refrigerated rail car.

The live snake was cold and lethargic. Nobody knew how they ended up there, but authorities guessed it was part of the same snake exhibition that was abandoned in the old Club Cafe a few weeks earlier.

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