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Opinion >  Column

100 years ago in Spokane: Work was just beginning on the iconic Washington Water Power plant

UPDATED: Thu., Jan. 28, 2021

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

More than 100 men were hard at work on the Washington Water Power Co.’s new power plant on the Spokane River, just west of Howard Street.

Excavation had begun and “rock is being removed from the course of the steel penstock that is to carry the water from the dam at the Phoenix Mill to the power station.”

“The power plant will be to the south of the site occupied by the city’s original pumping plant until it was removed upriver 26 years ago,” The Spokesman-Review wrote.

A coffer dam near Howard Street would shut off the flow of that part of the river during construction.

The paper described the new project as follows: “The water of the south channel of the river will be used, (and) the dam erected at the south side of the present Phoenix Mill. From this dam, the steel penstock, 19 feet in diameter, will run nearly 400 feet north, dropping to the level of the water wheel, 64 feet below. The penstock will run under the tracks of the Great Northern Railroad. The power plant will be erected on the low-lying edge of the river, north of the Great Northern track.”

From the narcotics beat: Spokane detectives changed their minds about starting abatement proceedings against the Empire Hotel in downtown Spokane after a raid netted large quantities of morphine and cocaine.

At first, police said they might try to shut down the entire hotel. Yet it turned out that the hotel management assisted the officers in the investigation that resulted in the arrest of the occupants of several rooms. In fact, the detective in charge of case publicly thanked the hotel for its help.

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