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Thursday, November 21, 2019  Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883
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100 years ago in Spokane: Circus arrives on the North Side; man says he accidentally shot and killed his neighbors

The Carl Hagenbeck-Wallace Circus set up its tent city on Mallon Avenue, near Monroe Street, to the delight of Spokane’s youth, the Spokane Daily Chronicle reported on Aug. 4, 1919. (Spokesman-Review archives)
The Carl Hagenbeck-Wallace Circus set up its tent city on Mallon Avenue, near Monroe Street, to the delight of Spokane’s youth, the Spokane Daily Chronicle reported on Aug. 4, 1919. (Spokesman-Review archives)

The Carl Hagenbeck-Wallace Circus set up its tent city on Mallon Avenue, near Monroe Street, to the delight of Spokane’s youth.

The menagerie tent was the biggest attraction, containing “lions, tigers, panthers, elephants, the hippopotamus, birds and beasts of prey.”

The lions also performed under the big top in a “big steel-guarded arena.”

“Against their wills the wild animals go through the paces demanded by their trainers,” said a correspondent. “They glare and growl and crouch as though ready to spring upon the intrepid man who has mastered them. One in particular, a beautiful lion, contests the will of the man, for every inch of ground that he gives, and so ferocious and sullen he is, the gaping crowd expects him to spring any instant.”

The circus also had a number of more sophisticated-sounding acts, including La Rose Marguerite, “society equestrienne,” and her “tango horses.”

From the shooting beat: Thomas Tomalski, a Polish laborer, was under arrest for shooting two of his neighbors in Franklin Flats (on the river just east of Division Street). Mr. and Mrs. Magnus C. Grove died of gunshot wounds to the chest.

Tomalski turned himself into police after the shooting, saying that he never intended to shoot them. He went to their house to ask for some money which he claimed Mrs. Grove had stolen from him. Mr. Grove confronted him with a gun.

During a tussle over the gun, it “blasted” four times, Tomalski said. When Tomalski realized that they were dead, he tossed the gun into the river and then gave himself up.

He told police he “wouldn’t kill anyone,” even for a billion dollars.

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