The Cutter Question: Who Was the Real Architect?

My grandfather was Swedish born architect Gustav Albin Pehrson, who designed an impressive array of buildings in the western United States, including Spokane’s Paulsen Center, Roosevelt Apartments, Eldridge Building, Missoula’s Florence Hotel, as well as the town of Richland, Washington as it was built up in 1943 for the Hanford Project. According to newspaper clippings and family archives, other notable Pehrson projects include the Chronicle Building, Western Union Life Building, Schade Brewery, and many residences including the Hebert House, Priess House, Kirk Thompson House, Victor Dessert House and Louie Davenport’s summer home “Flowerfield” along the Little Spokane River (now the campus of St. George’s School). But did he also design the famous Davenport Hotel, credited to Kirtland Cutter? My family set to find out. Continue Reading

So Many Currents in Such a Little Puddle

Second-hand stores can often be treasure troves for discerning browsers. Nearly twenty years ago, a “Montana peak” caught the eye of one such buyer. The campaign hat bore the logo of the “The Cadet Store, West Point, N.Y.” Without provenance, it was just a curiosity, at least until recently, when serendipity stepped in. The faint handwritten letters on the sweatband — “Ward, C. S.” — turned out to be Charles Stuart Ward, Class of 1918. That discovery led to a tale of two young Lewiston people who married in haste and regretted at leisure. Taking a twisted path of nearly sixty years, their story began with a murder, required a Presidential pardon, and ended up in the Idaho Supreme Court. Continue Reading

Chuck King’s Guide to Spokane History, Episode 9: “Alvin ‘Buy Gum’ Wilson”

On the newest episode of The King’s Guide, Chuck King celebrates the life of Alvin “Buy Gum” Wilson, a street peddler who inspired the city of Spokane for two decades in the early 1900s. Earlier this summer, with the help of Inland Monument, Fairmount Memorial Association, and Nostalgia Magazine, Chuck King gathered with Jeff Sims and other history lovers to commemorate a new headstone for Buy Gum Wilson at Riverside Memorial Park. Continue Reading

Burke, Idaho and Its Neighbors in Canyon Creek – Mace and Gem

Part one of Doris Woodward’s three-part series on Burke, Idaho introduces you to a once-bustling industrial area where now there are only scatterings of buildings, but where some of the once handsome and well-built buildings of the Hecla mine still exist. They stand as a silent sentinel and reminder of the spectacular mining activity that took place in this area beginning over a hundred years ago. Continue Reading

“Buy Gum” Wilson: Early Spokane Street Peddler

Alvin L. Wilson was a familiar presence on the northwest corner of Stevens and Riverside in the first two decades of the 1900s. The bearded gentleman in a wheelchair called himself Shoestring Wilson, and was also known as “The Pencil Man.” He normally parked himself in front of the old Eagle Block, kitty-corner from the Paulsen Building. He spent his days making a living by peddling pencils, shoestrings, and collar buttons from a box mounted to the front of his wheelchair. Continue Reading

Memories of a Civilian Conservation Corps Camp

Times were pretty tough in Idaho during the Great Depression and jobs weren’t easy to come by. There were no handouts from the government in those days. However, thankfully President Roosevelt threw me a line when I was seventeen years old. I got the lead on the Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC) from a friend and decided to join up. I was in the CCC from 1938 to 1940 and it was probably the best decision I ever made. Continue Reading

A Lifetime of Seafair Memories

Seafair has been a part of Joanne Ludwig’s life for as long as she can remember – not only did her mother work for the chair of the hydro races/yacht club, but she also grew up in a neighborhood full of festival superstars, including a member of the Aqua Follies and a Commodore. In 1994, Ludwig was asked to be the Chair of the Seafair Scholarship Program for Women. She served in this role for almost two decades. Continue Reading

“Reba” Hurn: Spokane’s First Female Lawyer

Rebecca Jane “Reba” Hurn was Spokane’s first female lawyer and Washington’s first female senator. A ceremony dedicating a monument in her honor takes place August 3, 2018 at Greenwood Memorial Terrace in Spokane, WA. Continue Reading

An Earlier Time: Memories of the West Central Neighborhood

Robert Scheel remembers growing up in Spokane’s West Central Neighborhood: “Time passed. The solid, middle-class neighborhood, where the doors were never locked, where you could play in the streets and yards until after dark and never worry about crime or leaving your bike or ball glove outside have become history. [My friends from the neighborhood] are all gone now. But they live on in my memories of my childhood, and the memories are so good.” Continue Reading

The Monroe Street Granite Retaining Wall

Chuck King, along with Tony and Suzanne Bamonte, explore the hidden history of North Monroe Street’s retaining wall and the history of the Granite Building, which stood for almost four decades at the corner of Washington and Riverside in downtown Spokane. Continue Reading