“Patsy Clark and E.J. Brickell – Giants of Spokane History” – Episode 13 of the King’s Guide

On a special authors profile episode of the King’s Guide, Chuck King visits with John H. Richards and James E. Brickell, authors of new biographies on their great- and great-great-grandfathers, Patsy Clark and E.J. Brickell. For years, Spokane residents ate at Patsy Clark’s restaurant in Browne’s Addition, but how many people knew Patsy was a mining pioneer – and not a woman? And it was once said of E.J. Brickell, the “Lion in the Shadows,” that by his “vim and energy, he brought the city of Spokane to life.” But somehow, with the passing of time, we have forgotten about Spokane’s first millionaire, a man who once owned most of what we know today as Riverfront Park. Continue Reading

Josephine Baker’s Secret Life as a World War II Spy

The 20th-century icon Josephine Baker was so much more than a sex symbol who danced in a skirt made of bananas. Yes, she took Paris by storm in 1925 with her “Savage Dance” – performed in little more than a strategically-placed feather – and went on to increase her fame with the infamous banana skirt which, legend has it, she designed as a joke for her first revue at the Folies-Bergère. Spokane author Sherry Jones’s novel Josephine Baker’s Last Dance goes on sale December 4, 2018 at Auntie’s Books and everywhere. Continue Reading

How Hillyard Became A City Against Its Better Judgment and Relectantly Stayed One for 29 Years

The story of when Hillyard became incorporated as a city is a fascinating and hilarious one. The main line of the Great Northern Railway, owned and operated by the so-called “Empire Builder” James Jerome Hill, reached Spokane on June 1, 1892. East of the City of Spokane, a large flat plain, originally called Horse Plains by early fur traders, was selected to be a major freight, roundhouse and repair facility for the railway. The railway named this spot the “East Spokane Station,” and early suggestions to name the station after Mr. Hill were dismissed by the Empire Builder as out of the question. Mr. Hill was very proud of his name. Originally christened simply “James Hill”, at age thirteen in 1851, he adopted the middle name of “Jerome” after Napoleon Bonaparte’s brother in admiration of the French conqueror and his family. “The Great Man” did not want his name associated with a lowly railway station. Continue Reading

Dodson’s Jewelers: Spokane’s Oldest Jewelry Store

The sun was bright on June 27, 1887 when George Roley Dodson stepped off the Northern Pacific train onto the dock at the Milwaukee and St. Paul depot in Spokane Falls, Washington Territory. The ride from Decatur, Illinois had taken him across the Rocky Moun­tains and into a world that he would describe as being filled with “unrivaled scenic beauty.” He spent the first day getting used to the gritty taste left in his mouth from the dusty streets of this pioneer outpost. Nonetheless, he was completely enthralled with all of the activity he saw. From the pow­erful falls in the river to compar­ing real estate prices and wages to his hometown Decatur, the twenty-six-year-old jeweler liked what he saw. Continue Reading

“Celebrating 100 Years of Armistice Day” – Episode 12 of the King’s Guide

On a special Centennial Veterans Day episode of the King’s Guide, Chuck King takes a look at Spokane’s Lincoln statue, dedicated on November 11, 1930. Episode 12 of the King’s Guide features rare footage from the Swanson Family of the very moment the statue of Lincoln was unveiled in front of a crowd 40,000 strong. Continue Reading

Pretty Good Beards of INW Pioneer History

Pretty Good Beards is a new regular column (more of a tidbit) in Nostalgia Magazine that features regional pioneers and their exceptional beards. The November-December 2018 issue of Nostalgia Magazine features the Reverend Cushing Eells and his excellent off-season Santa beard. Continue Reading

“The Life and Times of Patsy Clark: Mining Pioneer”

The name of Patsy Clark may conjure up an image of a beautiful, old mansion across from the Coeur d’Alene Park in Browne’s Addition or a delightful meal for a special occasion such as an anniversary or birthday when that same mansion was Patsy Clark’s Restaurant for twenty years. But, there is much more to Patsy’s story than a mansion that became a restaurant. Patsy Clark was my great-grandfather and for the past four years, I have been researching his life. In 1851, Patsy Clark’s life odyssey started in Ireland, approximately the same time most history books cite the end of the horrendous potato famine. Striking out from the Emerald Isle to Liverpool, England in 1872 with his eldest brother, James, the two young men caught a “coffin ship” to the New World where they sought their fortunes in the raw, untamed wilderness of the American West. It’s safe to say they had better luck than the average prospector of the late 1800s. While many people remember the mansion, even more it seems know next to nothing about the man, Patsy Clark. I set out to learn his story, and now, to share it. Continue Reading

“The Lion in the Shadows: E.J. Brickell of Illinoistown, Truckee, and Spokane Falls”

Although it was strongly proposed at the time of his death, his name today is not attached to any street, park, building or other public feature of the city to which he contributed so much. It is found only in the crevices of history by scholars who look hard enough, and on a cemetery monument sufficiently imposing that the few passersby will wonder who the fellow could have been to have put up such a chunk of stone. The Masonic Grand Lodge of Washington wrote: “…the history of this city can never be written without his name, for he was one of the cornerstones of its prosperity, and was concerned in a number of the most important business enterprises in Spokane and Spokane County.” And yet, no one is a better exemplar of the Latin phrase Sic transit gloria mundi – “Thus passes the glory of the world.” Truly this was a man his city forgot. This man was my great-great-grandfather, Edward James Brickell. With the help of Chuck King, and many others, his story is now no longer buried in archives and newspapers. His story is ready to emerge from the shadows. Continue Reading

“Wandermere: Spokane’s Family Playground” – Ep11 of the King’s Guide

On episode 11 of the King’s Guide, Chuck King welcomes West Valley school teacher, Ty Brown, whose family has operated Wandermere Golf Course for five generations. With never-seen-before family video and photographs, Ty shares the history of Wandermere, including the attractions of the tobaggan hill, ski jump, and more. Continue Reading

Prejudice Is No Match For Two Gonzaga Hall of Famers

Carl Maxey and Frank Burgess both rose from hardscrabble backgrounds to achieve national acclaim as Gonzaga University athletes and, later, in the arenas of law and life. Although they attended Gonzaga at different times, it comes as no surprise that one would help the other in a time of need. Continue Reading