“The Charles Marr House” – Episode 14 of the King’s Guide

How did historic preservation pump $43 million into the local economy over the last two years? Chuck King is on the case on episode 14 of the King’s Guide! Chuck visits Megan Kelly Duvall and the Spokane Historic Landmarks office in search of information on the Charles Marr House, and learns a whole lot more. Continue Reading

Louis Coynt: The Tiger

Louis Coynt was given the nickname “Tiger,” and he earned it. The fierce criminal had a rap sheet that made the most hardened convicts envious. Assault with a deadly weapon on a deputy, burglary, highway robbery, and sensational prison escapes were some highlights of his career. Continue Reading

Nucky Johnson & Atlantic City’s Bizarre Glory Days

The true history of Nucky Johnson almost reads like something preordained, which is to say this history is almost a perfect fantasy in and of itself. He essentially stepped into a powerful role in town – a role vacated by his own father – and became part of an unofficial, enterprise-based ruling class. Though he was only Sheriff of Atlantic County for some three years (from 1908 until 1911), and he was never explicitly in charge of Atlantic City, Johnson was largely in control of the area. From an official political standpoint, his influence came in the form of a leadership role with a major Republican organization in town – from which he’s said to have influenced the campaigns of even statewide and national politicians. More broadly though, Johnson’s power came from his willingness to exploit Atlantic City’s overt embrace of illicit entertainment. Continue Reading

Good Times at Playland Pier in Coeur d’Alene

In the fall of 1940, Earl Somers and his wife Byrd moved to Coeur d’Alene, Idaho with the idea of operating an amusement park near the Coeur d’Alene City Beach and Park. For years, Earl and Byrd had operated a traveling amusement company based in Pasco, Washington. They were in their mid-forties and were looking for a permanent location. Tired of traveling from city to city and dealing with the problems of setting up, taking down and traveling, Earl was convinced Coeur d’Alene was the perfect place for their amusement business. He began to meet with city officials about the possibility of leasing land near the city park. It took over a year to convince the city fathers this was a good thing for Coeur d’Alene, soon, the iconic Playland Pier would be entertaining families from around the region. Continue Reading

From Sandpoint, Idaho to Berchtesgaden, Germany

When Pearl Harbor was attacked on December 7, 1941, an opportunity had arrived for Joe Delay to escape what he felt was a ho-hum life on the family farm near Sandpoint, Idaho. “I volunteered the minute I got out of high school. My dad didn’t know this. Never knew this. Not even to his grave, I never did tell him.” Originally intending on joining the Navy, Delay was disappointed to be redirected to the Army recruiter, desperate for men to fill their depleted ranks. Instead of clean white sheets and three meals a day, he would now be carrying a rifle and sleeping in the mud. Eventually, Joe fought at the Battle of the Bulge, and he was there when Allied Forces pushed on to Berchtesgaden, and to victory in Europe. Continue Reading

Not Forgotten: A Pacific Northwest Family Brings Their Soldier Home

When I was a kid in the mid-1960s, we traveled to the West Central neighborhood of Spokane every couple of months to spend the afternoon at Grandma’s turn-of-the-century home on West Boone Avenue. And a couple times a year we’d have get-togethers with dishes of hot and cold comfort food placed end to end on her kitchen counter and in the center of her big round dining table. And all the while, a soft image in an 8 X 10 frame smiled down over every Easter ham, every burning birthday candle, every card and board game. Nobody told me he was important. Nobody had to. I just knew. It was a photo of my Uncle Verne, who gave his life during World War II. Continue Reading

The George Weyerhaeuser Kidnapping of 1935

In May of 1935, when George Weyerhaeuser was nine years old, he was kidnapped. On May 24, George’s school, the Lowell School, let students out a few minutes early for lunch. Normally, George walked, upon lunch-time dismissal, to the seminary where his sister attended classes; the two would be picked up by the family’s chauffeur and driven home. George arrived at the seminary early, decided not to wait for his sister, and began to walk home on his own, taking a shortcut through tennis courts. He never arrived. But a ransom note for $200,000 came to the Weyerhaeuser home that evening. Continue Reading

A Promising New Future: Memories of Tori and Kisaburo Shiosaki

What would urge a young couple to move to a far and distant land? A land where the customs are not only strange but in some instances completely different. A land where they did not speak the language. A land with hostility to those of a different color, and a special hostility at that time to those who were arriving from Asia. A land, in many instances, of harsh climates. But, it was a land where there was hope. Like many other Japanese immigrants, it was their hope that after a few years of hard work, they would be able to accumulate enough so that they could return to Japan with enough means so that they could find a comfortable living. That was certainly the hope of the Shiosaki Family, although they remained in America, and their grandchildren live in Spokane to this day. Continue Reading

The Amazing Captain Paul Webb

Captain Paul Webb came to Spokane in 1895 intending to ride Spokane Falls in a barrel. But before he could amaze the people with his bravery, he made an attempt to ride his barrel down the Rosen log chutes on Lake Coeur d’Alene. Things did not go as planned. Continue Reading

Bob Grandinetti and the Santa Safety Program

Bob Grandinetti worked the Safety Santa Program for over 25 years. Before this program was formalized in the early 1900s, officers would take unclaimed items, such as bicycles in the property room, and distribute them, in secret, to needy children on Christmas Eve after the children had gone to bed. Continue Reading