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Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883
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100 years ago in Spokane: Teens play dangerous game of chicken with mail train at edge of town

The boys were students at the Holmes School and said they didn’t want to lose a bet.  (S-R archives)
The boys were students at the Holmes School and said they didn’t want to lose a bet. (S-R archives)
By Jim Kershner The Spokesman-Review

Four Spokane boys, ages 12 to 14, pulled an exceedingly dumb stunt on the railroad tracks at the edge of town.

They dared each other to sit on the train tracks as long as possible while the fast mail train approached.

As the engineer explained later, he saw four boys sitting on the track as the train approached the Spokane River bridge near Fort Wright. He had to come to a sudden stop, wheels screeching. The boys jumped off the track and disappeared.

The crew of the train reported the incident, and a railroad special agent boarded the next train in order to investigate. This time, the engineer drove the train slowly as it approached that spot.

It’s a good thing he did, because there were the same four boys, sitting on the rails in the same spot.

This time, the boys didn’t get away. The special agent apparently apprehended the four boys, all students at the Holmes School. The boys had no good explanation for their risky behavior, beyond not wanting to lose a dare.

From the streetcar beat: The city’s voters were flocking to the polls to vote on the historic streetcar merger proposition. The Spokane Daily Chronicle said that “all indications” pointed to an overwhelming yes vote. Streetcar officials and city commissioners considered ratification all but certain.

Also on this date

(From the Associated Press)

Nelson Mandela claimed victory in South Africa’s first democratic elections in 1994; President F.W. de Klerk acknowledged defeat.

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