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100 years ago in Spokane: A hotel fire, radio fever and two Army ‘birdmen’ were making headlines

 (Spokane Daily Chronicle archives )

Clouds of smoke billowed from the Central Hotel’s roof when the tarred surface caught fire.

Crowds gathered several stories below, near Main Avenue and Washington Street. Sparks apparently started the fire, but quick action by firefighters prevented serious damage. The fire never spread beyond the roof.

From the radio beat: Radio fever was running so high that the Spokane Daily Chronicle ran an ad touting “The West’s First Radio Show,” meaning, a radio exposition.

The show, to be held in Seattle’s Dreamland Pavilion, promised “one week of marvelous, mystifying radio stunts – see the weird movements of the radio automobile, guided without human touch.”

The organizers also promised “messages direct from France and Germany, received by the U.S. Navy station at the show.” Tickets were only 50 cents, and railroads were offering reduced rates.

From the aviation beat: Two Army “birdmen” flew in to the Parkwater aviation field, as part of a campaign to support the citizen’s training camp at Camp Lewis near Tacoma.

The two pilots, Lt. Ned Schramm and Lt. H.C. Minter, were given a luncheon by the military affairs committee of the Spokane Chamber of Commerce.

They came from their home field in Sacramento, California, with stops at Portland and Walla Walla. They planned to spend the night in Spokane, then circle the city at 9 a.m. before heading to Seattle.

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