Arrow-right Camera
The Spokesman-Review Newspaper

The Spokesman-Review Newspaper The Spokesman-Review

Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883
Clear Night 10° Clear
News >  Spokane

100 years ago in Spokane: Miner disappears in risky walk over railroad bridge

Hjalmar Johnson, 24, a miner, was presumed drown after he fell from a railroad bridge near the Schade Brewery in Spokane, The Spokesman-Review reported on Jan. 27, 1919. The newspaper also reported on a meeting at Socialists Hall. (The Spokesman-Review archives)
Hjalmar Johnson, 24, a miner, was presumed drown after he fell from a railroad bridge near the Schade Brewery in Spokane, The Spokesman-Review reported on Jan. 27, 1919. The newspaper also reported on a meeting at Socialists Hall. (The Spokesman-Review archives)

Hjalmar Johnson, 24, a miner, had just arrived in Spokane from Butte in the wee hours of the morning when he and three companions started walking across the Spokane & Inland Empire railroad bridge just beyond the Schade Brewery.

Two of the men walked on the ties inside the rails, but Johnson and another man “walked on the planks laid lengthwise on the ties outside the rails.”

Little did Johnson realize these planks did not run the entire length of the bridge. When Johnson came to the end of the planks, “he stepped into space and dropped immediately from the sight of his comrades.”

“They could hear his cries as he struck the water some 20 feet below,” said The Spokesman-Review, but soon his cries ceased.

The other men hurried off the bridge to a phone and called police, but no trace of Johnson could be found. He had been swept away by the river’s swift current and was presumed drowned.

From the socialist beat: The topic of discussion in the regular weekly meeting at the Socialists Hall, 309 W. Sprague, was “Law and Order.”

One speaker said laws were necessary, but should be made by the workers for the workers. Another speaker said that the Bolsheviks in Russia, currently much in the news, were being unfairly represented by the press. He said the Bolshevik movement was “without menace to labor” because it meant labor was in control of banks and production.

The Spokesman-Review Newspaper

Local journalism is essential.

Give directly to The Spokesman-Review's Northwest Passages community forums series -- which helps to offset the costs of several reporter and editor positions at the newspaper -- by using the easy options below. Gifts processed in this system are not tax deductible, but are predominately used to help meet the local financial requirements needed to receive national matching-grant funds.

Active Person

Subscribe now to get breaking news alerts in your email inbox

Get breaking news delivered to your inbox as it happens.