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

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

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

A Taste For Playing With Fire: Gussie Bollinger Loved Not Wisely, But Too Well

Leo Tolstoy began his novel Anna Karenina by saying: “Happy families are all alike; every unhappy family is unhappy in its own way.” Gussie Bollinger’s family was a frequent dumpster fire. Gussie loved too often, but not well, indeed, and by the end of her life, she collected a list of names: Carrie Augusta “Gussie” “Jessie” Leachman-Bollinger-Grady-Wellman-Trumbley-Smith-Allen. Continue Reading

A Hellish Truth Seen Too Late

By Steven Branting Those who plot the destruction of others often fall themselves. ~ Phaedrus Above, the Idaho State Insane Asylum, circa 1894. Photo courtesy of Idaho State Hospital South. The October 6, 1883 edition of the Aspen, Colorado Times carried a public letter to Continue Reading

Nostalgia Presents: “Chuck King’s Guide to Spokane History” Episode 4: “Selling Sex in the Silver Valley”

On Episode 4 of the King’s Guide, Chuck King introduces you to Dr. Heather Branstetter, author of the fascinating book, “Selling Sex in the Silver Valley: A Business Doing Pleasure.” What does it mean when a community agrees that “you don’t have to obey the laws, but you Continue Reading

Selling Sex in the Silver Valley: A Business Doing Pleasure

By Heather Branstetter, PhD Above, the Oasis Rooms are on the second floor of the 2-story building on Cedar in Wallace, Idaho. Today, the building is the Oasis Bordello Museum, the second floor is “frozen in time” and available for visitors to tour. Learn more Continue Reading

Prohibition in Shoshone County, Idaho

By Tony and Suzanne Bamonte, excerpted from their book, The Coeur d’Alenes Gold Rush and Its Lasting Legacy, available at Auntie’s Books in downtown Spokane and from Tornado Creek Publications. Prohibition in Washington and Idaho began on January 1, 1916, and the County Dry Squad, Continue Reading