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Opinion >  Column

100 years ago in Spokane: How a century-long push for Eastern Washington and North Idaho independent statehood began

UPDATED: Fri., Feb. 5, 2021

 (S-R archives )
(S-R archives )

The idea of a new state combining Eastern Washington with North Idaho is hardly new – it was being touted in 1921.

A former Idaho lieutenant governor, Herman H. Taylor from Sandpoint, was promoting the idea at the Idaho state legislature and at the Spokane and Sandpoint chambers of commerce.

“We want Eastern Washington with us,” he told the Spokane chamber.

The vice president of the Sandpoint chamber said the idea had plenty of backing in his region, in part because “Boise, our capital, is nearly two days trip from any part of the north.”

“This project was broached informally only a short while ago,” said the Sandpoint chamber officer. “Always popular in northern Idaho, it has spread like wildfire.”

He said the only real connection between northern and southern Idaho was the name Idaho.

The president of the Spokane chamber was noncommittal about the idea, but he noted that Washington had a “similar geographical barrier,” namely the Cascade Range.

Even in 1921, the idea wasn’t brand new. Taylor said a similar movement had “nearly succeeded” in 1917.

From the forgery beat: Burns detectives believed they had discovered the identity of a mystery forger who had passed a long string of bad checks throughout the region.

The culprit? Mrs. Florence Bergstrasser, 22, of Colbert.

Her forgery skills were so advanced that some of the victims “had difficulty in believing that they were not their own checks.”

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