“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

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

Historic Homes: The Glover Mansion

Built in 1888 – some sources say 1889 – the Glover Mansion, located on Spokane’s lower South Hill at 321 West Eighth Avenue, is one of Spokane’s oldest and most beautiful historic buildings. Nineteenth-century entrepreneur, James Nettle Glover, the self-proclaimed “father of Spokane,” built the home fifteen years after settling in Spokane. Glover first arrived in the area in 1873 and opened a trading post-style mercantile, catering primarily to the local Indians. After having become very successful through this and various other business ventures, Glover commissioned Kirtland Cutter of the architectural firm Cutter and Poetz to design a new majestic home. Continue Reading

The Natatorium Park Rollercoaster, The Jack Rabbit

The Jack Rabbit rollercoaster track was more than 2,000 feet in length, laid out in a kind of double figure eight pattern. The first hill was the “Big Drop,” touted to hurtle mortified riders at a rate of 70 miles per hour down to the bottom before the next succession of smaller dips and climbs. A warning sign in front of the ride read, “Hold your hats and don’t stand up!” The Jack Rabbit was a Spokane entertainment icon for over 40 years. 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

Nostalgia Presents: “Chuck King’s Guide to Spokane History” Episode 6: “Early Monroe Street Bridges Done In By Cable Cars”

On Episode 6 of The King’s Guide, Chuck King mosies over the Monroe Street Bridge to tell you all about how the wood and steel bridges on that site were done in by cable cars (and other things) in the 1890s and early 1900s. “Chuck King’s Guide to Spokane History” offers a glimpse of historical landmarks, oddities, and more from the Inland Northwest in a short video every few weeks. Continue Reading

The Four Galland Brothers: Businessmen of Farmington, Palouse, and Spokane

In the fall of 1891, the Galland brothers sold their Wallace store and began construction of the Galland-Burke brewery in Spokane. The immense structure was located on Broadway Avenue, between Post and Lincoln Streets, overlooking the namesake falls of the city. The articles of incorporation were filed on July 13th, 1891 with capitalization of $100,000. W. S. Norman, Julius Galland, John Burke, George Truax, and Theodore Galland were the principal stockholders. Of the 1,000 shares, two Galland Brothers owned 799 when first incorporated. Two decades later, a series of transactions involving the merger or purchase of the Henco Brewery, the New York Brewery, and the Galland-Burke Brewery resulted the reincorporation on May 1st, 1902, of the Spokane Brewing and Malting Company for one million dollars. Brewing was big business on the frontier. Continue Reading