May 24, 2014 in Washington Voices

Front Porch: Reminder of Expo ’74 just part of character of house

By The Spokesman-Review
 

Sometimes, when you least expect it, a piece of Spokane’s history appears in, of all places, a garage.

In 1987 we were newbies to Spokane and bought a home in the Kokomo subdivision in Spokane Valley. It was a different house, some would even say a tad unusual. At the time, the prior owner regaled us with a tale about the builder/architect who built several homes in the area including the home we were buying. “This is the home he built for his family,” he proudly said.

Anyone who has lived or currently lives in a custom-built home knows the peculiar trials and tribulations this entails. Odd-size windows, doors and out-of-the-norm design are par for the blueprints. I’ve heard architects love to leave behind building legacies and this house definitely has legacy. Rough cedar walls, a stone fireplace, the likes I have yet to see duplicated, an entry room that defies logic, a 14-foot vaulted ceiling that defies gravity and a kitchen that corners the ’70s market.

It’s been an interesting home, a quirky decorating challenge that’s had its moments but there’s no doubt about it – this house is different and that’s exactly what attracted us to it.

Within a month, we moved in. Over the years our kids went to nearby schools and we attended numerous school functions and sports events. Holidays and celebrations came and went. We’ve had some great laughs and shed too many tears. We saw dreams come true only to vanish into thin air. Now, empty nesters, we enjoy visits from the birds and squirrels that come into the yard for food and water.

But this house has more than the conventional comfort and safety protocol; it also contains a piece of history.

Several years after we moved in, I was rummaging through the garage and noticed one wall was actually part of a board from Expo ’74. I work in downtown Spokane and heard of King Cole’s crazy concept to convert a desolate railroad wasteland into a beautiful park and bring the world to Spokane. But, how did a board from Expo become a wall in our garage?

Time slipped by. The wall became another part of the garage scenery, obscured by towers of seasonal tires until last summer when our neighbors were reminiscing about their many years in the neighborhood and the subject of their good friend Bob Tucker came up.

Tucker was the architect who built our house. We discovered that what we thought was the master bedroom was originally the guest quarters and the small room nestled between the two downstairs bedrooms was a nursery but the most important discovery that day was when they recalled Bob Tucker as one of the architects involved with Expo.

I hadn’t seen the board in years but now I couldn’t stop thinking about it. I tried to push the tires stacked in front of it to get a better look, to no avail. Then last week, as we cleared the garage in preparation to sell the house, the board came into full view. It was almost like seeing it again for the first time and I smiled at the small but important piece of history it represents.

As Spokane celebrates the 40th anniversary of the year the world came to the Inland Northwest, it’s kind of neat to know a part of Spokane’s history is in our garage.


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