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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.