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Sunday, February 23, 2020  Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883
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100 years ago in North Idaho: Snow slides kill 3; entire blacksmith shop near Mullan carried away

Huge snow slides roared into valleys in North Idaho, killing three people, The Spokesman-Review reported on March 25, 1917. (Spokesman-Review archives)
Huge snow slides roared into valleys in North Idaho, killing three people, The Spokesman-Review reported on March 25, 1917. (Spokesman-Review archives)

Huge snowslides roared into valleys in North Idaho, killing three people.

On Placer Creek, near Wallace, Custer Laird heard the avalanche coming and, according to witnesses, ran as hard as he could to get out of the way.

While running, “he stumbled and fell and the slide carried him away.” His body had still not been found.

In a gulch near Mullan, Paul McCarthy was driving a team of horses, with a young boy as a passenger. A slide carried the wagon away, killing McCarthy and the horses. However, the young boy was rescued alive.

Above Mullan, E.B. Crawford was working in a blacksmith shop. An avalanche roared down and carried the entire shop away.

Meanwhile, rescuers were frantically working to rescue a woman cook who was at work in a nearby cookhouse. “She is still alive and has conversed with her rescuers,” said a correspondent.

Because of the widespread slide danger, no trains were running in the canyon mining towns of North Idaho. One passenger train from Missoula was trapped by slides. A rotary snowplow attempted to liberate the train, but the rotary itself was buried by another slide. No one was injured in these slides.

From the movie beat: Spokane had produced a new silent film star. Violet Palmer — real name Pearl Palmer, formerly of Spokane — had “stepped into film fame overnight as the co-star with William Nigh of ‘The Blue Streak.’ ”

A Fox studio press release called her “the newest little star to shine in William Fox’s firmament.” Pearl had been a popular and proficient pianist and song-and-dance performer when she lived in Spokane.

Violet Palmer would go on to star in five feature films from 1917 to 1927.

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