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Shadle: Lasting ’50s charm

Shadle Park’s iconic drum-shaped water tower didn’t always bare the colors of its nearby high school.

Ron Brooks, who graduated from Shadle Park High in 1973, remembers riding his bike past the 4.8-million-gallon tank in the 1960s before it was painted green and gold.

Brooks saw plenty more changes in the northwest Spokane neighborhood during his lengthy teaching tenure as the school’s 37-year varsity baseball coach.

From the erection of the Shadle Shopping Center – restaurants, grocery outlets and retail stores currently pack the Wellesley Avenue location – to its ample parks and recreation facilities, it became more than a residential area of post-World World II ranch-style houses.

If one thing has remained the same in the primarily middle-class area, though, it’s the third-generation homes, most still in good condition, giving this neighborhood its charm.

“There’s a lot of togetherness and tradition,” Brooks said of the area. “There’s a lot of pride in those homes. Very family-friendly.”

In the 1940s and ’50s, Shadle Park was one of the more booming areas in Spokane, warranting the structure of one of the more sizable high schools in the Northwest. The site selected for the school and neighboring park was land donated to the city by Josie Comstock Shadle in 1944.

The park, where the water tower is located, is one of the more popular picnic spots in town and often hosts concerts. The Spokane Public Library, baseball fields, tennis courts and the sizable pool, the Shadle Aquatic Center, are also in the park.

In 1968, Shadle Park’s baseball field was the first in the city to offer lights for nighttime games.

Loma Vista Park, which also offers picnic areas, a playground and a soccer field, is also in the area.


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