Arrow-right Camera
News >  Spokane

Tying up loose ends from bricks to bottles

Let’s hit the refresh buttons on some past columns and bring them up to date:

Not-so-solid brickwork: On April 3, I wrote about hundreds of thousands of old red bricks on Lincoln Street, uncovered by a repaving project. Some area residents and I speculated that these bricks might have come from the neighborhood itself: the old brickyard at what is now the Cannon Hill Park pond. There was no way to tell for certain, I wrote, but the possibility was intriguing.

Turns out, those bricks almost certainly didn’t come from the Cannon Hill brickyard. Stephen Emerson, program director of archaeological and historical services at Eastern Washington University, has done extensive research on Spokane’s old brick operations. He discovered that the Cannon Hill clay was exhausted by about 1900 and the operation moved to outlying areas.

Since the Lincoln Street brickwork was laid down in 1910 – and maybe even later – the bricks likely came from elsewhere, probably Clayton, says Emerson.

Cannon Hill bricks are undoubtedly in evidence somewhere in Spokane. But not on Lincoln Street.

Helpful reader comment: A clearly drunken reader called me with an observation about a column I wrote last month about the Toyota recalls.

He was irritated by a passage in which I said, “I have never experienced unintended acceleration, except for that one time in my driveway when I momentarily forgot which was the ‘go’ foot-thingy and which was the ‘stop’ foot-thingy.”

He helpfully informed me that there was no such word as “foot-thingy.”

And then he compared me to a “stupid bitch” and slammed down the phone-thingy.

A long memory: This week, reader Peggy Smith felt moved to call and e-mail me about my column titled “The perfect age? 2, 5 or maybe 10.”

“It is something that I treasure,” she said. “I quote it often to friends and family with young children, and now that I have a copier, I send copies to them.”

I was grateful for the comment, but even more grateful when I looked that column up and discovered how long ago I had written it.

I wrote it when my son, Mike, was 10. Today is his 30th birthday.

Fishing non-success: In regard to last week’s column about my bait-fishing ineptitude: No, I still haven’t landed a trout on a worm-and-marshmallow rig.

Yet I received many helpful hints, including one from a guy who told me how to cure my marshmallows with garlic.

Umm, good. I’ll be heading back out soon. Who knew trout liked Italian food?

Message in a bottle: Finally, I remain continually surprised by the reach of the “message in a bottle” column I wrote April 4, 2009. It was about Darin Winkler and his kids, who found a message in a bottle on a Spokane River bank.

A 20-year-old farmhand tossed it into a creek near Rockford in 1913. It was swept downstream and, sometime over the next 96 years, washed up below Spokane Falls Community College.

That story got picked up by the Associated Press and UPI. Radio stations across the country interviewed Winkler. The story even showed up on the “Larry King Live” website.

The farthest afield it showed up:, “Moldova’s International Gateway.” The Republic of Moldova is sandwiched between Romania and the Ukraine.