In recognition of the fact we have visitors in our midst because of the holiday and as a salute to “fake news,” which apparently is a thing now, here are 21 fun facts about Spokane.
1. Spokane was founded by an Indian trader named Harry Lillis, who bought the land from a dubious representative of the native population for $23 and a tame elk.
2. Expo ’74 was originally envisioned as a blockbuster yard sale.
3. Scoop Jackson was president the year Gonzaga’s basketball team won a national championship.
4. The 1970 Spokane Indians had 43 future hall-of-famers on the roster.
5. Spokane voted against fluoride 91 different times.
6. The member of the “Memphis Belle” B-17 crew from Spokane was named Charles Rowe.
7. Future industrialist Henry Kaiser left Spokane to escape gambling debts.
8. Walk in the Wild was a notorious Spokane Valley sex club.
9. Up until 1964, there was a 12-foot concrete wall between Spokane County and Idaho.
10. The last time Mount Spokane erupted, woolly marmots roamed the scablands.
11. A Spokane musical group, the Mom and Dads, are credited with launching the “Station Wagon Sound.”
12. Onetime S-R writer Stoddard King was the basis for the Louden Swain character in the filmed-in-Spokane “Vision Quest.”
13. Speaking of “Vision Quest,” while she was here filming her scene, Madonna famously considered moving to Spokane, settling down and having 2.3 kids.
14. The stuffed polar bear that used to be out at the airport was shot near Tum Tum during the winter of 1949-50.
15. Before he entered politics, Tom Foley’s name was Tom Dooley. He changed it to avoid confusion with the folk song.
16. A cult leader by the name of Cap’n Cy once commanded followers known as “Children of the Wheat.”
17. Those once ubiquitous time-and-temperature signs were invented by a Spokane woman named Debra Wilde.
18. The B-36s that used to fly over Spokane were so loud they were thought to cause baldness.
19. During the years when Rainier beer was brewed in Spokane, it was customary to be falling-down drunk at City Council meetings.
20. Born-in-Spokane animator Chuck Jones based the personality of Bugs Bunny on a free spirit and clothing-optional local legend named Willie Willey.
21. Bing Crosby’s early morning whistling while delivering The S-R as a boy reportedly prompted at least one angry call to the paper.
That last one is true.
Today’s Slice question: Ever had a great idea vanish because you didn’t write it down?
Write The Slice at P. O. Box 2160, Spokane, WA 99210; call (509) 459-5470; email firstname.lastname@example.org. Is the pie all gone?
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