September 6, 2012 in Washington Voices

King Collection: Getting back into routine

By The Spokesman-Review
 

In the King Grocery, owner Joel Barnes King is pictured on the right near his wife, Eveline.
(Full-size photo)(All photos)

By the end of the summer, if people are honest, an exhaustion sets in. So much light and heat, so much pressure to pursue evening and weekend fun.

September’s routine offers a return to “ordinary time” to borrow a term from church liturgical calendars. People are back in the saddle, nose to the grindstone. You get the drill.

The King Collection photos that beckoned this month show people in ordinary time. Working, going to school, running a business.

The King grocery, located at the corner of Maxwell Avenue and Monroe Street on Spokane’s North Side, was opened by Joel Barnes King in 1901. He’s the man standing closest to the woman in the photo, his wife, Eveline, the only person smiling in this photo which was taken sometime between 1901 and 1909.

Notice the canned food stacked so neatly, the brooms in the back hanging from the wall. All in order, ready for customers coming in for the goods that helped them do the day’s most ordinary tasks – cooking and cleaning.

The brick building that replaced King’s first store still stands at the same corner. Look up next time you find yourself at the intersection of Maxwell Avenue and Monroe Street and look for the building with “King” etched in stone at the top.

There is no date on the postcard photo of Bancroft School, completed in 1886. This photo was likely taken in the early 1900s when the King family moved into the neighborhood where the school stood at 1515 N. Monroe St.

Notice the students in motion here. Some are walking so fast, they’ve blurred. Or maybe they are skipping into fall, into ordinary time.

The final photo, of the man with his secretary, was taken in June 1908. The man is Charles “Fred” Cowan, an attorney. He would be married within a year to Iowa King, daughter of Joel Barnes and Eveline King. His office was in the Columbia Building at the corner of First Avenue and Howard Street. The building is still there.

Walk into its lobby and see the same mailbox Cowan saw each morning, and climb the same marble staircase.

People then and now mail letters, go to the office, skip at school, buy brooms and canned goods. As everything changes – clothes, hair, customs, families, seasons, life itself – these ordinary things endure.


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