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N. Monroe Street and Riverside Avenue

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In the fall of 1906, a crowd of 10,000 gathered to witness the unveiling of the Monaghan Monument at Riverside and Monroe in Spokane. Born in Chewelah, Washington in 1873 to one of Spokane’s earliest and most prominent pioneers, James Monaghan, Robert John Monaghan was one of the first students to attend Gonzaga University in 1887. Following an 1891 military academy examination, Monaghan became the first Washington graduate from the Naval Academy at Annapolis, Maryland in 1895. Assigned to the battleship Philadelphia in 1899, Monaghan went to the Samoan Islands where hostilities were rising between two rival chieftains. Having chosen a king between the two rivals, English and American forces put ashore at Apia to disperse remaining rebels. Laying in wait for the soldiers in the jungle, the enemy ambushed Monaghan and his men, wounding and killing many of his party. Upon retreat, Lieutenant Phillip Lansdale was wounded and abandoned by his fellow sailors. Monaghan refused to leave his fellow shipmate behind and the bodies of both sailors were found dead in the jungle the following day. The following account recalls Ensign Monaghan’s bravery: “He stood steadfast by his wounded superior and friend, one rifle against many, brave man against a score of savages. He knew he was doomed. He could not yield. He died in the heroic performance of duty.”