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Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883
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100 years ago in Spokane: More water power planned for the city as fallout from streetcar crash grows

UPDATED: Wed., Oct. 7, 2020

More water power planned for the city as fallout from streetcar crash grows.  (Spokane Daily Chronicle archives )
More water power planned for the city as fallout from streetcar crash grows. (Spokane Daily Chronicle archives )
By Jim Kershner The Spokesman-Review

The Washington Water Power Co. was planning a new power-generating operation at the Spokane River’s upper falls, near Howard Street.

This was just one of several new power sites the company was contemplating. The plan called for a “small plant at the head” of the falls, generating between 10,000 and 15,000 horsepower.

From the accident beat: The Spokane Daily Chronicle found and interviewed another victim of a serious streetcar accident that occurred earlier in the week.

Glen Rhodes “lies at home with a broken left ankle, broken foot bones” and lacerations all over his body.

“I ascribe the fact that I was not killed to my hanging on to one of the hand irons,” Rhodes said. “I was obliged to stand, as the car was crowded, and when the crash came I hung on, the impact missing the upper part of my body.”

Another man, W.L. Middleton, was not so fortunate. He died when an out-of-control streetcar crashed into the crowded streetcar from behind at the intersection of Nora Avenue and Adams Street.

“Flying glass and the lumber and steel from the car plowed through the mess,” Rhodes said. “Directly under me was Mr. Middleton, who was killed. Friends assisted me in extricating myself from the wreckage and carried me to my home.”

Police were investigating the accident and were attempting to determine if the rear streetcar was exceeding the speed limit. Slippery leaves on the tracks may have contributed to the accident.

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