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The Spokesman-Review Newspaper
Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883

100 years ago in Coeur d’Alene: Fire destroys roof of city hall, damages records within

A fire at city hall in Coeur d’Alene made front-page news in The Spokane Daily Chronicle on March 29, 1921.  (S-R archives)
By Jim Kershner The Spokesman-Review

A fire extensively damaged Coeur d’Alene’s city hall, destroying the roof and the entire top floor.

This three-story brick structure also served as the Kootenai County courthouse.

“The blaze was first noticed on the roof, where a flue emerged, and despite the efforts of the fire department, crept downward,” said the Spokane Daily Chronicle.

Damage was estimated at between $15,000 and $25,000. The structure was built about a decade earlier for $50,000.

Officials were concerned about water damage throughout the building. City and county records “will require weeks to be salvaged.”

From the Prohibition beat: $20,000 worth of high-class bonded liquor was poured down the sewer in the basement of the Spokane police headquarters.

A Chronicle reporter sounded positively mournful as he described how “the contents were allowed to gurgle into the path which leads to the river.”

“The pop, pop, pop of the corks (were) the only sound to break the quietness.”

One of the jail trusties, helping with the process, became overcome by the fumes and attempted to “demonstrate his prowess by chewing off the tops of the beer bottles with his teeth.” His teeth and gums were uninjured, but he later cut his thumb on a champagne bottle and had to be taken to the emergency hospital.

A Chronicle photo of the event was headlined, “The Saddest Story Ever Told.”

Also on this date

(From the Associated Press)

1973: The last United States combat troops left South Vietnam.