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Monday, October 14, 2019  Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883
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News >  Spokane

100 years ago in Spokane: New ‘ton-and-a-half passenger-carrying truck’ service begins. (That’s bus in modern parlance.)

UPDATED: Tue., June 11, 2019, 6:44 a.m.

A miner’s strike was looming at the Bunker Hill & Sullivan Mine in the Coeur d’Alene district, the Spokane Daily Chronicle reported on June 11, 1919. (Spokesman-Review)
A miner’s strike was looming at the Bunker Hill & Sullivan Mine in the Coeur d’Alene district, the Spokane Daily Chronicle reported on June 11, 1919. (Spokesman-Review)

A new era was about to begin in Spokane transportation: the inter-city bus era.

The Highway Motors Transportation Co. was preparing to launch motor coach service from Spokane to Liberty Lake, Coeur d’Alene, Davenport, Reardan, Harrington and several other towns.

They didn’t actually call them buses. They called them “ton-and-a-half passenger-carrying trucks,” and they held only 10 passengers. Think of them as primitive passenger vans.

Yet it was the beginning of a new kind of regional transit. Before this, most regional travel was accomplished via passenger trains or electric interurban railways – or, increasingly, in private autos.

The company boasted that its coaches would make the trip “as fast as cars.”

From the labor beat: A miner’s strike was looming at the Bunker Hill & Sullivan Mine in the Coeur d’Alene district.

The leader of International Mine, Mill and Smelter Worker’s Union said that 500 men “will quit work and march in a body to the company offices” if management did not agree to a conference over wages and hours. The workers wanted a raise of 50 cents a day along with an eight-hour day, measured from “portal to portal.”

A federal mediator was hurrying out from the East Coast to attempt a settlement.

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