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Opinion >  Column

100 years ago in Spokane: Merchants were outraged over plans to abandon streetcar lines on Lidgerwood and North Division

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

The Washington Water Power Co. forged ahead with plans to abandon the streetcar lines on the Lidgerwood and North Division routes – and North Division merchants were incensed.

They were not, however, incensed with WWP. They were incensed with the Spokane City Council, which they said had “precipitated” the crisis.

The city had authorized numerous private jitney and motor bus routes, cutting severely into the passenger count on the streetcar lines and making many streetcar routes unprofitable. The merchants converged on city hall to ask the city to solve the problem.

The merchants said they didn’t care how the controversy started. They just wanted their streetcar service continued.

How did the mayor respond?

“Mayor Fleming told us we had come to the wrong place, that we should see the Washington Water Power Co.,” one of the merchants said.

So they went to the WWP offices, where officials told them they wanted to continue operating the Lidgerwood and North Division lines, but the city had made it impossible.

The merchants concluded that “the fault does not lie there, but with the commissioners at city hall.”

One merchant said Mayor Fleming was “bull-headed and would listen to nothing.”

The city commissioners had earlier declared that WWP was bluffing when it threatened to abandon the line. But WWP officials said the final cars would run that night and the company would begin dismantling the rails the next morning.

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