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Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883
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100 years ago in Spokane: Crowds pack Natatorium Park

The Spokesman-Review ran a story on July 4, 1920, headlined “Modern Fireworks Safe,” which asserted that 1920 fireworks were “nondangerous” compared to the “oldtime cannon crackers capable of lifting a barrel high in the air.”  (Spokesman-Review archives)
The Spokesman-Review ran a story on July 4, 1920, headlined “Modern Fireworks Safe,” which asserted that 1920 fireworks were “nondangerous” compared to the “oldtime cannon crackers capable of lifting a barrel high in the air.” (Spokesman-Review archives)
By Jim Kershner The Spokesman-Review

The holiday itself was just dawning, but Spokane’s three-day holiday weekend was well underway. About 10,000 people crowded into Natatorium Park the day before, many of them seeking to cool down in the park’s pool from a heat wave.

A dozen special “tripper” cars (as in day-tripper), were kept in operation all day “in an effort to accommodate the sweltering picnickers.”

Medical Lake and Liberty Lake were also jammed, and even bigger crowds were expected the the next two days.

The Spokesman-Review ran a story headlined “Modern Fireworks Safe,” which asserted that 1920 fireworks were “nondangerous” compared to the “oldtime cannon crackers capable of lifting a barrel high in the air.”

“This year science has devised a hundred different kinds of sparklers, salutes, magic barrel snakes, sun wheels and dragons,” which “produced all the dazzle without any of the former hurtful effects.”

This was largely wishful thinking. A day earlier a Spokane boy was seriously burned by firecrackers. And on July 3, Spokane firefighters responded to 14 calls, including grass fires probably started by fireworks.

On this date

(From Associated Press)

1776: The Declaration of Independence was adopted by delegates to the Second Continental Congress in Philadelphia.

1802: The United States Military Academy officially opened at West Point, New York.

1939: Lou Gehrig of the New York Yankees delivered his famous farewell speech in which he called himself “the luckiest man on the face of the earth.”

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