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Leland James, a Portland, Oregon, truck driver, built a trucking empire. He started by buying Portland-Spokane Auto Freight and a handful of other firms in 1929. He called his new company Consolidated Freight Lines. Around 1935, Consolidated built a new office and warehouse at 126 S. Sheridan St. in Spokane.
Starting around 1940, Sprouse Reitz variety stores began popping up around Spokane. For housewives, there were household and craft supplies. For kids, there was candy and small toys.
One of the grandest homes in the Rockwood National Register Historic District was erected for pioneer attorney Edward J. Cannon and his wife, Helen, in 1911. The brick home in the Colonial Revival style is part of Spokane’s most exclusive and historic neighborhoods.
Townships were a way for rural areas to have a local government of their own, outside of cities and outside of county government. In Washington, only Spokane and Whatcom counties allowed townships to form a local government and levy property taxes to support it. The state approved townships in 1908.
The Looff Carrousel in Riverfront Park has its origins in the craftsmanship of Charles Looff, a German woodworker who emigrated to the United States in 1870.
Spokane was always a wheat town, anchored by its flouring mills, which supplied several large bakeries. One of the larger bakers was Silver Loaf Baking Company, which had a production plant on the north rim of the Spokane River gorge for almost 40 years.
One of the city’s biggest roadblocks for Expo ’74 was the tangle of steel rails that snaked across Havermale Island and along the shore of the river.
Spokane’s water superintendent, Rolla A. Jones, was in Coeur d’Alene doing repairs on a steamboat he owned when Spokane’s great fire of 1889 broke out.
Then, as now, smoke hung in the pines overlooking the young pioneer town beside the Spokane Falls. Area forests were ablaze. People and horses trudged along the dusty streets in the heat of an August afternoon. Little did they imagine that the buildings they passed within hours would catch fire and collapse into 32 blocks of ruin. Friday, 128 years later, Spokane history lovers plan to re-enact the day their city burned to the ground.
In 1968, Glen Yake, who was Spokane’s city engineer from the 1950s to the 1980s, said: “Water is Spokane’s greatest asset.” He said that major urban areas that had seen rationing had enough water to pump but had inadequate storage reservoirs during low-water periods.
In the early 1960s, business and city leaders believed that Spokane needed something to bring it out of its funk. The economy was stagnant. Railroads were still shipping, but passenger service had declined. The downtown seemed dingy and industrial. Culturally, Spokane seemed stuck in the past.
Fueled by a lucky stake in a productive silver mine, Levi “Al” Hutton and May Arkwright built the Hutton building in 1906.
Civil War veteran and his wife are being honored with a monument at Fairmount Memorial Park
Before the 1960s, Stevens Street only went up the South Hill to Seventh Avenue, blocked by the cliff above and the expansive estate of Daniel Corbin, which was purchased by the city park board in 1945. But as early as the 1930s, city officials had been researching another way up the hill to relieve congestion on Grand Boulevard.
Spokane was booming in the 1890s, the population was growing rapidly and clubs, lodges and fraternal organizations were bursting at the seams. The Spokane Amateur Athletic Club organized in 1891 with the boast that their facilities would offer not only the best billiards and bowling, but also gym facilities for fitness.
A series of heritage walking tours is available to folks interested in the history of downtown buildings.
Baseball has been a staple of summer entertainment in Spokane since the 1890s. Spokane baseball teams carried names like the Hawks, Bunchgrassers, Blue Stockings and Smoke Eaters. But in 1940, the name Indians, used in the aughts and teens, returned to stay.
Entrepreneur Albert R. Pratt built a legacy in furniture in Spokane, in an area now incorporated into the River Park Square development.
In early Spokane, parks were primarily natural spaces used for picnics. When Parks Superintendent John W. Duncan retired in 1942, Spokane’s park system included more parks, plus features like playgrounds, swimming pools, golf courses and sports courts and fields. Duncan was born in Aberdeen, Scotland, and came to the United States as a boy. He studied park management and worked in Boston. He passed through Spokane in 1909 on his way to a convention in Seattle and returned the next year to become the city’s park superintendent.
Edward L. Powell was 11 years old when his family moved west by covered wagon from Ohio to Oregon in 1862. After studying civil engineering, he worked for the railroad. But his health was poor and he couldn’t keep up with the railroad life. So he went to teach school in Walla Walla, then operate a general store in Waitsburg for 18 years.