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Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883
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100 years ago in Spokane: ‘Unknown hero’ leaps into river for daring rescue

A mystery person dived into the Spokane River to rescue a little girl; however, when police arrived, the unnamed hero was nowhere to be found. (Spokesman-Review archives)
A mystery person dived into the Spokane River to rescue a little girl; however, when police arrived, the unnamed hero was nowhere to be found. (Spokesman-Review archives)

An “unknown hero” was riding in a streetcar crossing the Spokane River on the Washington Street Bridge. He glanced down and saw a little girl, struggling in the middle of the river.

It was Lillian Schwartz, 7. She and a friend had been playing on a log boom on the river when she slipped and fell into the water. Her playmate ran to get help, but Lillian drifted toward the center of the river.

The anonymous hero jumped off the streetcar, dived from the parapet of the viaduct, and grabbed the struggling girl. He swam her to the north shore where he passed the exhausted, shivering girl to a motorist who had stopped. The motorist rushed the girl to the emergency hospital where she was revived and taken home.

When a police officer returned to the scene, “the daring rescuer could not be found,” nor had he given his name to the motorist.

From the war beat: More than 100 recruits were learning to be Army mechanics at Modern Automobile School in Spokane.

The school had been taken over by the federal government on a special contract. Another 200 recruits were expected to arrive in a month.

The soldiers “will be quartered in the old Princess rink at Sinto Avenue and Normandie Street, which has been remodeled into an Army barracks.”

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