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Sunday, April 5, 2020  Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883
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News >  Spokane

100 years ago in Spokane: ‘Mystery man’ claims not to know who he is; new Jewish temple announced

“I don’t know what I have ever done for a living,” the Mystery Man said. “I believe that if I were to go out and work now, that I would like to go to a cattle ranch.” (Spokane Daily Chronicle archives)
“I don’t know what I have ever done for a living,” the Mystery Man said. “I believe that if I were to go out and work now, that I would like to go to a cattle ranch.” (Spokane Daily Chronicle archives)

A man dubbed “Spokane’s Mystery Man” had local police authorities stumped.

The man, pictured on the front page of the Spokane Daily Chronicle, said he did not know his own name and had no memory of anything to do with his past life.

His earliest memory, he said, was from Wednesday evening, when he found himself in Medical Lake – he wasn’t sure how – and asked a sheriff to lock him up until he could find out something about his identity.

“I don’t know what I have ever done for a living,” the Mystery Man said. “I believe that if I were to go out and work now, that I would like to go to a cattle ranch.”

A receipt from the Portland Gas Co. was found on the man, dated more than a year ago, but he said he had “never heard of Portland … so far as I know.” He said Seattle and Tacoma sounded equally unfamiliar, but some Montana cities, including Billings, Miles City and Forsyth, sounded familiar.

He was being held in the Spokane jail pending identification.

From the religion beat: Spokane’s Temple Emanu-El congregation announced plans to build a big new Jewish temple at the corner of Eighth Avenue and Walnut Street.

The current Temple Emanu-El building, at Third Avenue and Madison Street, had been built in 1892 – the first synagogue in the state – but was now showing its age.

The proposed temple would contain an auditorium seating 500, a gymnasium and a banquet hall. Rabbi Julius Leibert said it would “fill a long-needed want in the life of the Jews of Spokane.”

As it turned out, it would take eight years to complete the new temple, but it would serve as the congregation’s home for the next four decades.

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