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Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883
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100 years ago in Spokane: Rail executive predicts city, region will be ‘jammed’ with tourists

“The parks will be jammed, the hotels will be jammed, the highways will be jammed, all with American tourists seeing America,” said the chairman of the Great Northern railroad. (Spokane Daily Chronicle archives)
“The parks will be jammed, the hotels will be jammed, the highways will be jammed, all with American tourists seeing America,” said the chairman of the Great Northern railroad. (Spokane Daily Chronicle archives)

Louis W. Hill, the chairman of the Great Northern railroad, predicted that 1920 would be the best tourist year ever in Spokane and the Northwest.

“The parks will be jammed, the hotels will be jammed, the highways will be jammed, all with American tourists seeing America,” said Hill, who was spending the day in Spokane. “The American tourist hasn’t began to make Europe yet, and won’t this year. He will tour America. He has heard of the parks and the wonders of the Pacific Northwest and of California, and being an American he is going to go out to find out whether the reports are exaggerated. … He will have with him his family, the son who fought in France, the daughter who worked with the canteen, the mother who served with the Red Cross.”

Hill did not say what evidence he had for this rosy prediction, but since he owned a railroad, he may have had a peek at the advance reservations. For whatever reason, he was certainly not equivocating.

He said this summer would surpass “the wildest dream of the wildest dreamer.”

Hill also said the Great Northern was getting back to normal after the railroads were nationalized during the Great War.

“We are actually getting more efficiency today than when the road was turned over to the government,” he said.

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