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Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883
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Jim Kershner’s this day in history

From our archives, 100 years ago

Pasco and Kennewick marked the opening of navigation to the sea with a festive celebration, culminating in the “allegorical wedding” of Miss Columbia and Mr. Snake.

F.A. Jones of Pasco played the part of Mr. Snake. The paper said the name might have sounded like an “unintentional reproach” but he made up for it in “pulchritude” (translation: he was apparently quite round). Miss Kate Williams of Kennewick played the role of the bride. The groomsmen were “attired as yachtsmen.”

This was part of a progressive celebration, made up of “gaily decorated steamboats,” which began in Lewiston and was headed downstream for the eventual destination of Astoria.

“The town was aflutter with banners and pennants, while the bands played on street corners, and the parade was altogether worth waiting for,” the paper said. “Mounted Indians were followed by a company of Hudson Bay trappers. Then came pioneers, scouts, Indian fighters and prairie schooners drawn by ox teams. Cowboys and floats containing beautiful girls representing towns of the Inland Empire followed.”

The reason for the celebration was the opening of The Dalles-Celilo Canal, which was expected to open up a new era of transportation in the Inland Northwest. For the first time, shipping was unobstructed from the Pacific. Gov. Ernest Lister declared that Pasco had “now become the seaport of Spokane.”

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