Darin Winkler was out walking along the river's edge with his kids, Evan and Iris, last weekend when he saw something that looked like an antique bottle, with an old-fashioned cork stopper, the Spokesman-Review reported Sunday.
"Spring and high water brings up various kinds of things on shore," Winkler said.
"We saw an old flattened basketball and a bunch of bottles. Mostly they were whiskey bottles, Mad Dog 20-20 bottles, things like that. But this one stood out."
Winkler said he took the bottle back to his house and carefully teased the note out of it. The paper was a little damp, flaking in places, but mostly intact. The first thing he saw took his breath away: "March 30, 1913."
Some parts of the note had deteriorated, but large portions of the pencil-written note remained decipherable.
Here's what it says, with missing parts noted with ellipses:
March 30, 1913
Who ever finds this bottle, please write in ... at Rockford, within the next two years ... and let me know it... Will put it in ...Spokane ... North East ... state of Wa ...
RFD #1 Box 5
After some sleuthing on the Internet and in the Spokesman-Review archives, Winkler was able to find out plenty about that long-ago bottle.
His theory is that the bottle got washed up on a bank or into a tangle of logs, and stayed high and dry for most of the next nine decades, thus explaining its relatively good condition.
Recently, possibly even last year, high water may have refloated the bottle and sent it down the river to where Winkler found it, directly across from the old Natatorium Park.
When Presnell died at age 85, on May 13, 1978, that bottle was probably still stuck in a riverbank somewhere.
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