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The Spokesman-Review Newspaper
Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883

100 years ago in Spokane: Aviation fans want to see city back on the route map

 (Spokesman-Review archives)

Spokane aviation boosters were attempting to establish the city as an “aviation station” (a center for flight training and air defense) and had come up with an ingenious argument in the city’s favor.

Engineer J.C. Ralston drew up an aerial route map, which he said showed “a northern transcontinental route, passing through the Spokane gateway, was the shortest route between the Atlantic and the Pacific.”

Ralston also said the map showed it was the best route over the Rocky Mountains, in terms of both mileage and altitude.

“This is of special significance to the operating aviator and must have an important influence upon the establishment of any over-continental route,” he said.

He also noted that a fast plane from Spokane could reach Seattle in just less than two hours and San Francisco in just less than seven. Ralston grasped the postwar implications.

“Thus it becomes plain that the time is measurably at hand when the detached and isolated condition under which we are living in the Pacific Northwest will be annihilated and there will arrive an intimacy of intercourse through intercity flights which will undoubtedly exercise a profound and helpful influence.”