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Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883
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100 years ago today in Spokane: With the oil boom a bust, attention turned to ‘gas field’ of Benton County

By Jim Kershner For The Spokesman-Review

Oil fever in Spokane had recently abated after the wells proved dry, but now the Inland Northwest was undergoing a related strain of fever: gas mania.

The Spokane Daily Chronicle reported that a massive “gas field” had been found in Benton County, and it was “more valuable than an oil field.”

The Chronicle’s editorial page gushed about this “find” and predicted it “may develop into one of the great industrial possibilities of the Pacific Northwest.”

In a story published two days earlier, the existence of this massive gas deposit was treated as a foregone conclusion.

“Already capital is considering the use of this gas for manufacturing glass, black carbon, gasoline, tile, chinaware and many other products,” said the Chronicle. “But the preeminent value … is the substitution of gas for all fuel used in the entire Yakima Valley. Or it can be piped to Spokane … and sold at a profit at a fourth the present cost of gas in this city.”

This alleged natural gas field was said to be in the Rattlesnake Hills. This is not an area known today as the center of gas-fueled industry. It is known today mostly for excellent wine grapes.

Also on this date

(From the Associated Press)

1928: The Walt Disney cartoon character Mickey Mouse made his debut in the silent animated short “Plane Crazy.”

1972: Alabama Gov. George C. Wallace was shot and left paralyzed while campaigning for president in Laurel, Maryland, by Arthur H. Bremer, who served 35 years for attempted murder.

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