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The facility on Havermale Island prior to Expo '74 was indicative of the push to move mail by rail in the early 20th century, even as would-be thieves targeted trains.
A 102-year-old historic covered wooden bridge outside of Colfax was destroyed Monday night in a nearly 3,000-acre fire that is still burning in Whitman County.
Washington has joined other states in challenging new federal rules that would allow for liquefied natural gas to be transported by rail car.
Robert E. Strahorn earned his nickname "the sphinx" because unlike other railroad boosters of his day, the man said little of his plans. Strahorn organized the construction of the Union Station, which opened Sept. 14, 1914.
The location of the downtown John Deere warehouse in Spokane, built in 1910, was tied to the railroads in the city's urban center. The arrival of the World's Fair in 1974 led to the realignment of those railroads, and the John Deere building was used for storage and staging during Expo '74.
Samuel G. Havermale, for whom the island in Riverfront Park is named, built the first roller mill in Washington Territory in 1883. It was torn down in 1927 to make way for the railroad.
Since the 1890s, Spokane was often touted as a hub for four transcontinental railroads, the implication being that it was a good place to do business and ship goods across the U.S. continent.
But organizers planned to institute rules to prevent street “mashers” – young men who flirted openly with women – from taking advantage of the new friendliness.
Now the site of the Kendall Yards mixed use development, the area northwest of downtown Spokane and the river was once home to the Union Pacific rail yard. The railroad moved out of the area in 1955, but development of new housing, retail and commercial businesses did not proceed in earnest until after the economic downturn of 2008.
Built in 1912, Old City Hall was actually the second permanent home for city offices after a building in Riverfront Park was sold to the railroads for $352,000. When it opened, Mayor W.J. Hindley promised that the structure at the corner of Spokane Falls Boulevard and Wall Street would be a temporary home for city offices until a more grand structure could be built. City operations remained headquartered there for another 70 years.
In the late 1800s and the early 20th century, railroad entrepreneurs competed to create a seamless system, connecting every region by rail. The biggest challenge was connecting the Northwest to large Midwest cities.
Three boys were on trial in police court for “forcibly hugging and kissing” two young telephone operators.
In 1909, The Milwaukee Road became the third transcontinental railroad to connect through Spokane to Seattle. Expansion of its electric routes in the West cost the railroad company dearly and led to multiple bankruptcies, including its final such filing in 1977.
Government control of railroads was popular in some quarters, including Spokane’s Central Labor Council. The government had assumed control of the rail lines for national security reasons during the war, and suspicion about private railroad companies was fairly widespread at the time.
About 300 men working on a project to electrify the Milwaukee Railroad’s line through Washington were on strike at their job site west of the Columbia River.
A group of young people went dancing at the Silver Grill, had several drinks of illicit whiskey, then went on an early-morning drive in a seven-passenger Buick.
Critics have skewered the unimaginative name of the University District Gateway Bridge. And let’s be honest, “Centennial Trail” does nothing to describe the 61 miles of paved trail that follows the Spokane River’s path from Nine Mile Falls northwest of Spokane to Coeur d’Alene. Then there’s Ben Burr, that mysterious name that’s attached to a trail, a boulevard and a road, not to mention a very quaint park. But who was Ben Burr?
Historian Robert Hyslop, in his book “Spokane Building Blocks,” explains why Spokane’s Union Station, shown under construction in 1913, was called a station and not a depot. There had already been a Union Depot in Spokane serving the OR&N, the Union Pacific and the Great Northern in Spokane’s earliest days. In addition, people thought the word “depot” was old-fashioned and “station” was more stylish.
Early bridges across the various channels of the Spokane River were made of wood, then steel and, eventually, concrete or stone. And when the Great Northern Railroad depot opened on Havermale Island in 1902, with its iconic Clocktower, access from downtown was only via the Howard Street bridge. So a new steel-supported bridge was hastily built, aligned with Washington Street, that dead-ended at the depot to get passengers to the trains.
1910 was a watershed year for Spokane.