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Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883
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100 years ago in Spokane: City official excited about University of Idaho research pointing to cheaper gas

The University of Idaho conducted experiments that successfully proved that artificial gas could be made from a distillation of wood, and a Spokane city official was excited it could lower costs, The Spokesman-Review reported on Dec. 17, 1916. (SR)
The University of Idaho conducted experiments that successfully proved that artificial gas could be made from a distillation of wood, and a Spokane city official was excited it could lower costs, The Spokesman-Review reported on Dec. 17, 1916. (SR)

From our archive, 100 years ago

The possibility of making gas – the kind used in gas lamps – from wood instead of coal had local officials optimistic about cheaper energy in the region.

The University of Idaho conducted experiments which successfully proved that artificial gas could be made from a distillation of wood.

Spokane’s public utilities commissioner, C.M. Fassett, said it might result in gas at half the price of coal-based gas.

This optimism was tempered by the fact that wood-based gas was lower in BTUs than coal gas. However, this could be countered by the relative cheapness and availability of wood, at least in this region.

It also would require a large initial investment in equipment. The head of the Spokane Gas Company said he was looking into the feasibility of this plan.

From the capital beat: A bill was introduced in the Washington Legislature to move the state capital from Olympia to Tacoma – or more precisely, to a site near Tacoma at Dash Point Park.

The Spokesman-Review’s editorial page reprinted an editorial from the Portland Oregonian, dismissing the idea. The editorial said that the old argument against Olympia was that it was hard to access. That was no longer an issue with a new railroad into Olympia and better highways.

Another argument was that the state buildings were inadequate. This, however, was the Legislature’s fault, not Olympia’s.

The editorial noted that Olympia was accustomed to removal fights, since they had been recurring for 25 years.

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