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Washington Voices

Book points out Spokane-area monuments

Thu., June 11, 2009

It’s always a pleasure to turn a corner or drive down a road and discover a monument or marker that honors an individual who contributed to the development of the region or commemorates some event in the region’s history.

There are many of these gems in the area but only limited information available on how to find the majority of them. I’d been hearing that a book was in the works to address that very need. It has now arrived.

Dick Jensen’s “Spokane Set in Stone: Selected Historical Monuments, Markers and Points of Interest in and Around Spokane” is just out, and it turns out to be a comprehensive, user-friendly guide to help history lovers find 192 special markers and sites in the region. The sites are organized by area and accompanied by maps.

“The idea was to create a driving or walking tour, to give people interested in the region’s history an easy way to learn more,” said Jensen, who operates Inland Empire Tours. “When I take people on tours in the area, I always stop and read the monuments, so I guess that’s how the idea got started.”

It was also helped along by Tony Bamonte, a well-known area historian and a former law enforcement official whose Tornado Creek Publications published Jensen’s book, which is available at Auntie’s and through www.tornado

“As much as I know about the history of the area, I only knew about 30 or 40 of the monuments Dick wrote about,” said Bamonte, the author of such works as “Spokane’s Legendary Davenport Hotel,” “Manito Park: A Reflection of Spokane’s Past” and “Sheriffs 1911-1989: A History of Murders in the Wilderness of Washington’s Last County.”

As Jensen says in the preface of his book, any book like this can only be a snapshot in time, as new monuments and markers are being created all the time. And he recognizes that everything that can be considered a marker, landmark or point of historic significance isn’t included. There are just too many. Wanting to be as helpful as possible to history hunters, however, he includes other sources of information on how to find places and things not included in his book.

“Spokane Set in Stone” includes the inscriptions on the monuments chronicled. “I did that because what they contain is of historical significance, and I hope the words inspire people to go out and learn more.”

He also corrects or supplements the record here and there. For example, the plaque on the Battle of Four Lakes monument in Four Lakes states that 5,000 Indians were defeated in a battle there in 1858, but in an author’s note, Jensen adds that Col. George Wright’s own official military record estimated that 400-500 Indians were defeated. The entry on the Cheney Normal School Heritage Center includes a sentence from the author explaining that the building, a one-room schoolhouse, was moved from Newport to the new site in 2000.

Jensen said it took three years to write the book, including taking most of the photos, and calls it a labor of love. “I meet so many local people who can tell me all about Ireland or Paris but can’t tell me much of anything about our own area,” he said.

His new book can be a guide in helping to change that.

Tags: landmarks

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