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

100 years ago in Spokane: Dynamite mishap nearly causes sewage flood in downtown.

Workers digging a new downtown sewer line purposely detonated a “small” dynamite charge that nearly caused a temporary sewage pipe to burst, the Spokane Daily Chronicle reported on May 17, 1922.
By Jim Kershner The Spokesman-Review

Workers digging a new downtown sewer line purposely detonated a “small” dynamite charge – but not small enough.

It was big enough to shake buildings on Main Avenue and nearly enough to cause disaster.

Only quick work by crews averted a massive flood and cave-in. A temporary sewer pipe was about to rupture when crews frantically placed supports under it.

“If the pipe had broken, the earth under the Wall Street pavement would have been washed away, causing a cave-in of the pavement at the Crescent corner, 50 to 100 feet south of the sewer line,” said the Spokane Daily Chronicle

“The blast was only about one-third as strong as we have used in the solid rock at that corner, said the manager of Two Miracle Concrete Corp., the sewer contractor.

He said that blasting had been going on for several days, but somehow this blast jarred the site far more than expected. He said “we feel lucky” that the temporary sewer pipe did not break.

Still, authorities were concerned because there were signs that the ground had settled in the area. Cracks appeared in the sidewalks.

From the circus beat: A circus elephant that escaped from the A.G. Barnes Circus in Sedro-Woolley, Washington, did so because it longed for its home in India, according to the circus’s agent in Spokane. The circus was set to arrive in Spokane within a week.

The circus hailed the elephant, Tusco, as the largest elephant in the world.

“Mr. Barnes bought Tusco in Bombay, where the huge elephant had been employed in carrying teakwood from the forests, and the memory of the days of his youth linger in his mind,” Rex de Rosselli said. “When the circus detrained at Sero-Woolley the fragrance of the pines came to Tusco on the clean morning air and the great outdoors beckoned and called to him.”

Rosselli said it was “unfortunate” that the elephant “upset” automobiles and trampled fences.