Spokane was booming in the 1890s, the population was growing rapidly and clubs, lodges and fraternal organizations were bursting at the seams. The Spokane Amateur Athletic Club organized in 1891 with the boast that their facilities would offer not only the best billiards and bowling, but also gym facilities for fitness.
To cope with a mix of financial problems, Spokane Falls Community College is offering substantially fewer summer classes compared to last year. It’s one of many areas where the Community Colleges of Spokane – the district that includes SFCC and Spokane Community College – has tightened its belt.
The rule barring “enemy aliens” from being within a half-mile of Fort George Wright had an unintended consequence. It meant that Rudolph Blume, of Hillyard, could not even visit his son, a Fort George Wright soldier, without a permit.
1880s: In 1880, nobody called it “downtown.” It was just plain “town.” An 1884 “bird’s-eye-view” map shows that almost everyone in the fledgling city of Spokane Falls lived in what we would today call downtown. North of the river and south of Fourth Avenue was the province of ponderosa pines and wildflowers. Almost all of the businesses were clustered within two blocks of the intersection of Riverside Avenue and Howard Street.
Decades ago crime used to be such a problem in downtown Spokane that even new officers patrolling the beat have heard the horror stories. But a downtown precinct, special bar patrols and an increased emphasis on the downtown area have curbed some of the bad behavior.
When walking on Howard Street between First and Second avenues, a pair of smiling narwhals are there to greet you. Walking on Wall Street, also between First and Second avenues, dozens of small murals mark “The People’s Gallery,” before red, blue, pink, black and white stripes make a colorful statement, via a mural by Spokane Arts Program Manager Ellen Picken and Erin Mielcarek.
It’s an elegant space, done in gray, black and white, with exposed brick walls, high ceilings and an open kitchen. There’s a new menu every month or so, and its focus is on creativity as well as whole, healthful foods. Experimentation is a value. So is working to elevate skills. Many ingredients are locally sourced, and dishes – made from scratch – carry a theme.
Downtown Spokane is in the midst of a major transformation, with hundreds of millions of dollars in investment pouring into the city’s core. Mark Richard, president of the Downtown Spokane Partnership, talked with The Spokesman-Review about recent trends.
Urban living often is portrayed as a young person’s game, but at 52, John Waite is a pretty typical downtown Spokane resident. Waite, the owner of Merlyn’s and Auntie’s Bookshop, lives on the same block as his comic and games shop. He’s got a few bars, a grocery store and a movie theater within a few hundred feet.
The Washington Supreme Court had to decide whether downtown Spokane would install parking meters back in the 1940s. Today, rates are competitive with other similar-size cities, but officials are calling for more enforcement of existing time limit laws to keep spaces free for visitors and shoppers, rather than workers.