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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.”
Tim Kromholtz recalls the birth of his love of cars with stories of family road trips to the Midwest, and a tale of masterful negotiation when he and his father brought home a brand new Pontiac Ventura in 1970.
Nick Mamer and Roy Schreck were our heroes in the late 1920s because of their aircraft exploits. They were only surpassed by Charles “Lindy” Lindberg because of his spectacular solo flight in the “Spirit of St. Louis” from New York to Paris in May of 1927.
The Joneses and Hertels lived about a block apart on Sutherlin in the Indian Trail neighborhood in north Spokane for several decades, but in the late 1960s, they spent many summers at Newman Lake together. Between summers at the lake, camping trips, spending holidays together, and sharing adventures as teachers in Spokane schools, the two families forged lifelong friendships.
Is there a person more closely linked to Spokane’s famous hotel than John Reed? He journeyed with The Davenport Hotel since 1942, remaining along for the ride for nearly eighty years. In the process, he became an icon of Spokane history and culture. We mourn his passing, and remember him in this article originally printed in our book, “The Davenport Hotel.”