A Promising New Future: Memories of Tori and Kisaburo Shiosaki

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. Continue Reading

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

A Curious Case of Amnesia: John Olson Disappears Briefly in 1924

At first, it seems like the plot of a Twilight Zone episode: a respectable North Idaho salesman, town marshall, and a married father of six children, goes to Spokane to make a round of sales calls. He plans to be gone for only a few days, but instead goes missing for three months and is found wandering the streets of Seattle by a policeman who used to know him in Spokane. Continue Reading