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Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883
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100 years ago in Spokane: Local company commissioned to ‘spruce up’ warplanes

 (Spokesman-Review archives)
(Spokesman-Review archives)

A Spokane company was awarded a giant federal contract for a key wartime material – spruce.

The Grant Smith-Porter Brothers Co. was scheduled to deliver 100 million board feet of this strong, lightweight wood.

The spruce was destined to end up in thousands of airplanes, which were feverishly being manufactured for use in the European war. This kind of spruce was rare in other parts of the U.S., but was found in abundance through Washington and Oregon.

“The work of getting out the airplane spruce is one that demands great care and selection,” said The Spokesman-Review. “In order to get the 100 million feet, it is estimated it will be necessary to log 500 million feet of timber.”

The company said it would hire between 5,000 and 6,000 loggers, and that work would begin at once.

This Spokane-based company was already involved in a different branch of wartime industry. It operated two shipyards in Portland and Aberdeen, where it was building 20 wooden steamships for the government.

From the opera beat: Spokane, surprisingly enough, was turning out to be an excellent market for grand opera.

The Auditorium Theater manager said that a recent three-day run of the San Carlo Grand Opera Company packed in the crowds. The manager said he was especially pleased with the demand for inexpensive gallery seats. Some people came to every performance.

As a result, the Auditorium Theater planned to book an entire week of grand opera next season.

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