When I was a kid in the mid-1960s, we traveled to the West Central neighborhood of Spokane every couple of months to spend the afternoon at Grandma’s turn-of-the-century home on West Boone Avenue. And a couple times a year we’d have get-togethers with dishes of hot and cold comfort food placed end to end on her kitchen counter and in the center of her big round dining table. And all the while, a soft image in an 8 X 10 frame smiled down over every Easter ham, every burning birthday candle, every card and board game. Nobody told me he was important. Nobody had to. I just knew. It was a photo of my Uncle Verne, who gave his life during World War II.
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.
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.
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.
On the newest episode of The King’s Guide, Chuck King hitches a ride with Gary Graupner, in his beautifully restored ’39 Packard, on his way to pick up Jayne Singleton to visit the Spokane Valley Heritage Museum. Along the way, Chuck and Jayne talk about how the old Opportunity Township Hall, near the corner of Sprague and Pines, is the perfect building for the museum, and how the two of them have had the time of their lives preserving local history.
We had so much fun working on Episode 7 of Chuck King’s Guide to Spokane History today (Friday, March 30) with Jayne Singleton of the Spokane Valley Heritage Museum and Gary Graupner – who generously donated his time and the use of his 1939 Packard! Watch the teaser here, and then look for the full episode in the next week or so.
Verne Alexander’s three-part series on his family’s home at 2124 North Fancher is now complete. Read all three articles for an incredible view of Spokane Valley history from the perspective of one of its earliest families, from early pioneer years to the arrival of trains, planes, and automobiles. Sadly, the house at 2124 North Fancher is gone, but the legacy of the Alexander Family remains.
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!