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Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883
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100 years ago: ‘Father of Spokane’ James Glover dies

UPDATED: Thu., Nov. 18, 2021

By Jim Kershner The Spokesman-Review

James N. Glover, widely considered “The Father of Spokane,” died at his Spokane mansion after a long illness.

“Nowhere, from the humblest to the greatest in the city, was there a place where he was not known and loved,” said the Spokane Daily Chronicle.

His reputation is spottier today, largely because of questions surrounding his treatment of his first wife. He divorced her, and she was later committed to a mental hospital.

But at his death, at age 83, he was considered a civic treasure.

“A dreamer and a doer, he was also a man whose heart and sympathies were boundless,” said the Chronicle. “His was the heart that could help the poor down-and-outer; his was the heart that could reach out and help a church that was struggling along under burdens it could not overcome, a children’s home where orphans were in need. … Of these things there are many to know, but there are few that knew them from his own lips, for James N. Glover was one who practiced philanthropy without the blare of trumpets.”

He acquired the title “Father of Spokane” because he was one of the city’s first builders (although, of course, the Spokane Tribe had occupied the land for millennia). He arrived in 1873 and “established the first mill and first store here.” He also established one of the early land plots, naming many streets.

“He gave away lots to persons who would build on them; he gave away land that is now worth fortunes, to induce industries to locate here,” said the Chronicle.

“It was James N. Glover who came to the falls when their waters dashed against the walls of the primeval forest, and who standing there, saw first the vision that today is realized in the city of Spokane.”

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