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

100 years ago in Spokane: A local resident’s death had national significance, and an early Bing performance wasn’t as well-received as his GU peer’s

 (Spokane Daily Chronicle archives)
By Jim Kershner The Spokesman-Review

Spokane was preparing for the elaborate funeral of Eng Hong, 64, a Spokane resident of national significance.

The Spokane Daily Chronicle called him “probably the best known Chinese in the United States.”

He was the national president of the Hip Sing tong, and was known for “perfecting a system which had practically done away with the tong wars in the U.S.”

He was a longtime resident of Trent Alley, Spokane’s Chinatown, and had left a few weeks earlier for Boston on tong business. While there, he was stricken with kidney trouble and died. His body was transported back to Spokane.

Tong leaders from all over the country were gathering for a huge funeral ceremony. The local Chinese community was “sparing no expense to make the funeral impressive.”

A procession, including two 20-piece bands and autos full of flowers, was planned from Trent Alley to Fairmount Cemetery, where his body would be placed in a vault, pending later shipment to China for final interment.

During the procession, attendants were expected to “drop thousands of tiny pieces of perforated paper,” which had symbolic significance.

From the Bing beat: The Spokesman-Review gave Harry L. Crosby, aka Bing, one of his earliest dramatic notices in its account of the Gonzaga Dramatic Club’s comedy, “It Pays to Advertise.”

“Mr. Crosby bursts over with spontaneity in getting his amusing lines across the footlights,” the S-R wrote.

The paper reserved its highest praise, however, for Michael Pecarovich in the lead role. Pecarovich, said the S-R critic, “edges close to the professional.”