How Hillyard Became A City Against Its Better Judgment and Relectantly Stayed One for 29 Years

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. Continue Reading

The Cutter Question: Who Was the Real Architect?

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. 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

John Reed: Memories of Elegance at The Davenport Hotel

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.” 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

Nostalgia Presents: “Chuck King’s Guide to Spokane History” Episode 5: “Dr. Coyne’s Helicopter Airship”

On the newest episode of The King’s Guide, Chuck King introduces you to Dr. W.E.S. Coyne, a local dentist who once had an invention that was touted in 1910 as “The Greatest Achievement in History.” But by 1912, Coyne was no longer living in Spokane. Find out why in the latest episode of the King’s Guide! Continue Reading

J.W. McArthur, Pharmacist

By Tom McArthur Pictured above, J.W. McArthur standing at the doorway of his first pharmacy, at the corner of Sprague and Monroe, circa 1890. Today, the Fox Theater stands on this spot. Photo courtesy of the McArthur Family Archives. I smile every time I walk Continue Reading