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Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883
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100 years ago in Spokane: New company planning to pipe natural gas 100 miles from Benton County to Spokane

Spokane residents formed a company to sink two wells in Benton County and pipe natural gas over 100 miles to Spokane, the Spokane Daily Chronicle reported on Feb. 11, 1917. (Spokesman-Review archives)
Spokane residents formed a company to sink two wells in Benton County and pipe natural gas over 100 miles to Spokane, the Spokane Daily Chronicle reported on Feb. 11, 1917. (Spokesman-Review archives)

The general frenzy in America over oil and gas riches had spread to our region.

Two stories in the Spokane Daily Chronicle on the same day revealed that speculation was rife.

Spokane men had just formed a company to sink two wells in Benton County and pipe natural gas over 100 miles to Spokane. The head of the new corporation said that “it’s no trouble to pipe gas 300 or 400 miles to commercial advantage.”

The other story said “Eastern capital” was planning to take over the interests of the Ephrata Oil and Natural Gas Co. in Grant County.

“We have the gas there — they could see that for themselves,” said the local owner.

He said the Eastern men were being “mysterious” about the whole thing, yet he was convinced they were planning to make an offer.

In the end, this proved to be mostly a fantasy. Large scale commercial oil and gas production never occurred in Washington.

From the court beat: A dispute over a commission between two real estate men ended up in a brawl.

“He hit me a biff behind the ear that almost floored me,” said J.W. Osborn, a well-known Spokane real estate dealer.

The other dealer, Jack Hamilton, was required to explain himself in police court.

Hamilton told the judge he was provoked. He said that Osborn was trying to “beat him out of money,” and that Osborn called him a “dirty liar.”

“I told him that no man could call me that name and to come outside and I’d slap him,” Hamilton said. “He came outside his office and I carried out my promise.”

The judge must have been somewhat sympathetic, since he fined Hamilton only $5 plus court costs.

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