Chuck King’s Guide to Spokane History, Episode 9: “Alvin ‘Buy Gum’ Wilson”

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. Continue Reading

Burke, Idaho and Its Neighbors in Canyon Creek – Mace and Gem

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. Continue Reading

“Buy Gum” Wilson: Early Spokane Street Peddler

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. Continue Reading

Memories of a Civilian Conservation Corps Camp

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. Continue Reading

A Lifetime of Seafair Memories

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. Continue Reading

An Earlier Time: Memories of the West Central Neighborhood

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.” Continue Reading

The Monroe Street Granite Retaining Wall

Chuck King, along with Tony and Suzanne Bamonte, explore the hidden history of North Monroe Street’s retaining wall and the history of the Granite Building, which stood for almost four decades at the corner of Washington and Riverside in downtown Spokane. Continue Reading

Chuck King’s Guide to Spokane History, Episode 8: “The Hidden History of the North Monroe Street Retaining Wall”

On the newest episode of The King’s Guide, Chuck King explores the hidden history of North Monroe Street’s retaining wall. You’ve probably seen this wall countless times and never even thought twice about it, but its history traces back before the Great Fire of 1889. History is all around us! Continue Reading

The Garland Theater (1945)

With the end of World War II in August 1945, the Garland Theater in Spokane, WA, opened its doors on November 22 of that year. Crowds lined up around the block to see the evening’s comedic double features: It’s a Pleasure and Double Exposure. The lobby, adorned with brown oak walls and floors covered in rose color carpet, was lined with baskets, flowers and well-wishes from Hollywood stars including Ginger Rogers, Cary Grant, Bob Hope, and Bing Crosby. Continue Reading

Historic Homes: The Clark House on Hayden Lake

When the Clarks built this 15,000-square-foot private lodge at Hayden Lake in 1910, it was of the finest materials and with great attention to detail. For a few short years, it provided a glorious setting for elaborate parties and other gatherings. In the ensuing years, it served in various capacities, some of which included a boys’ home, convalescent center for patients from Farragut Naval Hospital, a resort and a restaurant. Continue Reading