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The Spokesman-Review Newspaper
Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883

100 years ago in the Inland Northwest: Pair of old Spokane homesteaders relocate to ‘castle’ near Twin Lakes

The “castle” near Twin Lakes was more of an enlarged cabin with a turret, but Frank Loacker intended to live out his days nearby an old friend, he told The Spokane Daily Chronicle in August 1921.  (S-R archives)
By Jim Kershner The Spokesman-Review

A “rustic castle” near Twin Lakes is where “one of Spokane’s oldest pioneers and a chum of the days of his youth are living out their years together,” said a Spokane Daily Chronicle feature writer.

The castle – really more like an elaborate cabin with a two-story turret – was the work of Frank Loacker, who had lived in Spokane since 1886.

“He has built his home there so that he and ‘Jakie’ (Jack Miller) may be together, while the snows gather about their heads,” said the paper. “For several years, the two cronies have spent their summers together there.”

Both men were in their 70s. They had met each other in Colorado in 1874 and had later met up again in Spokane. Loacker’s wife died five years prior, and he decided to build this “castle” on Miller’s land, next to Miller’s smaller cabin. The “castle” featured a winding staircase leading to the tower, complete with wooden blocks to emphasize the castle-like architecture.

“I got the idea from the castles on the Rhine when I was in the old country,” said Loacker.

Loacker said he probably won’t live there full time – he may go to California in the winter. But he will always come back because “it is so still and peaceful.”

“We have known each other for 47 years and have never had a cross word yet,” said Miller. “And we don’t intend to begin now.”

From the shipwreck beat: A Spokane grandmother received some joyful news. She had feared that her 1-year-old granddaughter, Betty Jane, had drowned in the wreck in California of the steamship Alaska.

The little girl and the parents were thrown into the water by the crash. The parents lost sight of their daughter. The parents were rescued hours later, without the little girl.

While they recovered in a Eureka hospital, a stranger walked in with Betty Jane. The stranger had rescued the infant, who was “little the worse for the experience.”