100 years ago in Spokane: Local residents wanted to believe the city was ripe for oil drilling, but a skeptic disagreed with their excitement

Was Spokane about to become a rich oil producing region?

Or was the current oil fever just a fraud?

A noisy crowd of more than 700 people gathered to hear a debate between two oilmen.

On one side was Aaron Hover, who stated that Spokane was sitting on huge oil reserves. On the other hand was HC Harris who said it was all fake.

The crowd “leaned heavily on oil” and they applauded loudly when Hover told them exactly what they wanted to hear.

But the Spokane Daily Chronicle said Harris got the most points. He said laboratories had determined that the traces of oil allegedly found on South Hill were in fact a combination of kerosene and linseed oil. He said the oil was a “plant” and called it “grocery oil”.

He also claimed that Hover was unwilling to invest his own money in drilling Spokane.

Hover admitted that he “went broke” in Montana and had no money to invest.

From the transit beat: Spokane Traction Co., one of two Spokane tram companies, gave a strong indication that a merger of their lines with The Washington Water Power Co.

Spokane Traction Co. planned to transfer its holdings to a new holding company to allow for faster consolidation.

Many in the city welcomed such consolidation. Both tram companies were struggling, and consolidation seemed like the most obvious way to improve the situation.