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 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.
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.
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.
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.
On the newest episode of The King’s Guide, Chuck King pays his respects to the Elks Rest at Greenwood Memorial Terrace in Spokane, WA. Popularly known as the “Thousand Steps,” this cemetery once featured a life-size statue of an elk that stood guard over the resting place of Elks Club members. In the 1980s, the elk statue disappeared, but now, with Chuck’s help the elk will soon return home.
My grandfather was Swedish born architect Gustav Albin Pehrson, who designed an impressive array of buildings in the western United States, including Spokane’s Paulsen Center, Roosevelt Apartments, Eldridge Building, Missoula’s Florence Hotel, as well as the town of Richland, Washington as it was built up in 1943 for the Hanford Project. According to newspaper clippings and family archives, other notable Pehrson projects include the Chronicle Building, Western Union Life Building, Schade Brewery, and many residences including the Hebert House, Priess House, Kirk Thompson House, Victor Dessert House and Louie Davenport’s summer home “Flowerfield” along the Little Spokane River (now the campus of St. George’s School). But did he also design the famous Davenport Hotel, credited to Kirtland Cutter? My family set to find out.
On the newest episode of The King’s Guide, Chuck King celebrates the life of Alvin “Buy Gum” Wilson, a street peddler who inspired the city of Spokane for two decades in the early 1900s. Earlier this summer, with the help of Inland Monument, Fairmount Memorial Association, and Nostalgia Magazine, Chuck King gathered with Jeff Sims and other history lovers to commemorate a new headstone for Buy Gum Wilson at Riverside Memorial Park.
Part one of Doris Woodward’s three-part series on Burke, Idaho introduces you to a once-bustling industrial area where now there are only scatterings of buildings, but where some of the once handsome and well-built buildings of the Hecla mine still exist. They stand as a silent sentinel and reminder of the spectacular mining activity that took place in this area beginning over a hundred years ago.
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.