Images from Spokane’s past can help capture fall traditions

SUNDAY, OCT. 16, 2011

On high school football nights, if you live near Albi Stadium and keep your windows cracked open, you hear cheering and the boom-boom of high school bands.

If you have been worrying about things lately – the rotten economy, the arguing Congress, flu season, two wars and so on – then the cheering and the boom-boom can remind you that timeless traditions have endured for a century or more in the Inland Northwest.

They have endured through war, poverty and all the angst that enveloped people who once lived in the neighborhoods where you live now, people who have been dead for years.

The King Collection in The Spokesman-Review archives contains photos and memorabilia from the King family, who thrived in Spokane in the early 20th century.

Businessman Joel Barnes King and his wife, Eveline King, had four daughters, women who pasted family photos in books, or kept them in boxes, leaving a legacy of seasons past.

And so you can see the poster that Eva King drew in 1904 to highlight a game between Spokane High School and Lewiston High School, to be played at Natatorium Park. Admission: 25 cents.

Spokane High School and Natatorium Park no longer exist. Spokane area high schools play one another in seasonal sports, some still at Albi Stadium, and Lewiston doesn’t need to travel here.

But Miss King’s symbols defy time. There was a rivalry. She was rooting for Spokane High School. And she wore her allegiance on her flag.

Likely, there was cheering and boom-booms at that game, too – the same sounds you can hear nearly 100 years later. So high school football endured.

In another photo, Keo King LaVell and a friend have driven to a lake nearby. The photo is dated Oct. 3, 1955, but the name of the lake is not noted. It looks like a warm day; the sun casts clear shadows on the car next to the women.

But the women are dressed for deep fall weather, despite the sunshine and warmth, dressing “to the calendar and not the weather” as was once the custom of refined folks.

The photo is a reminder that Inland Northwest lakes are often at their uncrowded, calming best in the fall.

So the beauty of our lakes has endured.

Iowa King married Charles Cowan, a Spokane attorney, who hunted with his buddies in the fall. Someone pasted a dozen or more hunting photos in a 1928 datebook from the Old National Bank & Union Trust Co. engraved with “Chas F. Cowan” on the cover.

The photos show Cowan and other men in hunting camps in many seasons, over the course of many years, in vintage Ford cars, game tied on fenders and running boards.

Hunting seasons open throughout the fall: deer, pheasant, elk, moose, bear. Men, and some women, are planning their trips away to cabins, tents and campers.

Their game won’t be roped to a fender or a running board as they were in the older times. Deer will get from woods to city in pickup trucks and SUVs.

But autumn hunting trips, with camaraderie and fresh air, have endured.

The King Collection shows this once well-known family in its best times: camping, hunting, cheering for football teams, going on autumn excursions to lakes.

And though the family had its deep sorrows, as all families do, the things they chose to keep in photo albums and boxes of memorabilia speak to timeless memories that happen when people put worries aside and just go into the season.

Time magazine recently published an article on our attitudes toward money, a jittery topic for many today.

Did you know that happiness peaks at $75,000 a year? But everyone gets a 4 percent happiness boost spending money on leisure activities.

A happiness boost arrives today looking at photos and memorabilia from autumns past and remembering to do as others in our history did.

Savor the beauty and joy of Inland Northwest autumns. And don’t forget to take some photos.

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