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Opinion >  Column

100 years ago in Spokane: A ‘prize waltzer,’ fueled by syrup, danced 700 miles in two years, it was determined as he prepared to leave the city

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

“Dad” Watson, 72, Spokane’s “prize waltzer,” was honored at Whitehead’s dance emporium for his unprecedented dancing record.

“Dad” had an average of 20 dances an evening, six evenings a week, for two years.

Whitehead’s estimated that he had danced “700 miles for his two years residence in Spokane.” This was based on measuring the circumference of Whitehead’s dance floor and multiplying it by the estimated number of circuits per dance.

“Dad Watson’s sinews of waltzing were achieved by consuming waffles,” The Spokesman-Review wrote. “After dancing each evening, he made it a point to eat several waffles and a few pitchers of syrup.”

Alas, Watson’s dancing days in Spokane were coming to an end. He was moving back to his hometown of San Francisco.

Whitehead’s celebrated his feats by awarding him two exhibition dances with two young women, Juanita B. Koker and Nellie P. Buckley.

“The program closed with the whole ballroom singing ‘Auld Lang Syne.’ ”

From the transportation beat: A bridge over the Columbia River was completed between Kennewick and Pasco, marking an era in auto transportation for the state.

It signified the “closing of the last gap in the Yellowstone Trail from coast-to-coast” – the Yellowstone Trail meaning the northern auto route through the northern U.S.

The Benton-Franklin Intercounty Bridge also had one other distinction.

“Contrary to usual experience in undertakings of this magnitude, no deaths or serious accidents to workers have been experienced,” The Spokesman-Review said.

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