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.
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.
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.”
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.
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.
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!
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.
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.
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.”