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.
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.