Dutch Jake Goetz, one of the earliest charter members of the Spokane Elks Temple, left a lasting imprint on the region.
Born in Frankfurt, Germany, in the mid-19th century, Goetz emigrated to the U.S. in 1868, accompanied by his father and two brothers. After working his way across the country, he found a niche in the regional hotel and saloon business, catering to railway workers, miners and the broader economy their industries generated.
He was famously generous, and was perhaps best known for his annual birthday picnic, a two-day party to which hundreds were invited. These events featured elaborately staged historical dramas, music and “wagons full of free beer,” according to a Spokesman-Review “100 Years Ago Today” article by Jim Kershner.
Memorabilia from Goetz’s life and times can still be found scattered around the city. One of his cannons rests at the Northwest Museum of Arts and Culture, and his colorful roulette wheel, long housed at the Spokane Elks historic temple on West Riverside Avenue, is on temporary leave at the Spokane Valley Heritage Museum. Goetz’s name lives on at Dutch Jake’s Park, in the West Central neighborhood.
After Goetz’s death in 1927, his services were held inside the Lodge Room of the Spokane temple.
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