Spokane - An Indian word meaning "Children
of the Sun" or "Sun People".
history of Spokane probably started in 1810,
with the building of the fur trading post at
Spokane House (where the Spokane and Little
Spokane Rivers meet) under the direction of
David Thompson, explorer for the Canadian's
North West Trading Company. With
accessibility to the Columbia River and thus
the Pacific Ocean, it was the ideal trade
center for the transport of furs in the
region. In 1812, an American company
(Pacific Fur Company) built a competitive
post nearby, but the threat of war caused a
short life for the Americans.
In 1821, the merger of North
West Trading and the Hudson Bay Companies
caused another shake up in the region. As
Spokane House was considered too far from
the Columbia, the Trading Post was
dismantled and moved to Kettle Falls, named
Spokane, as a town, started
in about 1873, when James Glover arrived and
was enchanted and overwhelmed by the Falls.
He bought a 158 acre area for a reported
$1600, and went to Portland to secure the
documents. The original acreage is Spokane's
business sector now (around Spokane Falls
Blvd & Howard).
It was a grand city
in the early years, with many lavish homes
and even elegant hotels, like the California
House. Unfortunately, most of the elegance
was lost in the Great Fire of 1889, the same
year the territory became a state. It didn't
take long for the city to rebuild from the
ashes, but this time with brick and mortar.
A lot of the original building from post-
1889 are still standing and functional
Northern Pacific Railroad
finally helped the progress of Spokane on
July 4, 1881, when the first train came in
from the West, arriving from Cheney with 6
cars loaded with passengers. But this was
not without conflict, as Cheney was battling
for County Seat, and actually won. But
Spokane eventually had the final victory as
seat, and Northern Pacific regional activity
was centered in Spokane. The tracks were
located on Railroad Avenue (between 1st &
2nd Ave.), but in later years, it was
elevated, and RR Ave. disappeared. The first
train from the east was in 1883, after the
Golden Spike was driven in Helena, thus
completing the line.
1889 was the day Spokane fell in tragedy. A
fire broke out somewhere on Railroad Avenue
(there are several inconclusive theories)
and within 4 hours, 32 buildings on 27
blocks of Spokane were destroyed. Why, a
pump station problem. There are several
inconclusive theories here also, but
needless to say, it looked gloomy for
But Spokane had all the
right stuff.....The breath-taking Falls and
the close proximity to the Coeur d'Alene
region gold, silver and lead mines (which
encompassed the present day Stevens, Ferry
and Pend Oreille counties and northern
Idaho) and the railroads. When someone
needed supplies, it was off to Spokane they
went, from as far away as the Rockie
Mountains in the east and the Canadian
Selkirks to the north, the Blue Mountains to
the south and the Cascades Mountains to the
west. The money was always right, so the
city was again growing strong. With this
growth, some became millionaires seemingly
overnight. There were show houses and
auditorium theaters built. In fact A.M.
Cannon and J.J. Brown built a theater with
the World Largest stage. Spokane was the
happening place and quickly became known for
K. K. Cutter
With the help of the renowned
architect K. K. Cutter many a fine home was
built in Spokane, as many a fortune was
being made in the mines and railroad. Some
of the beauties still exist today and many
are still operated as homes or family run
Spokane was also known for
its Wild Side. As many as 51 saloons and
dance halls went into business, and this
increased the drunkenness and shooting.
There were even "casinos" that were
operating with permission from the city, by
allowing a minister to give services on
Sundays in one of the rooms of the casino
(drinks were free afterwards to those that
attended the service).
The city and
surrounding areas have settled down quite a
bit since those times, but the activities
are still as great. With such noteworthy
events as Bloomsday and Hoopfest (the
world's largest 3-on-3 basketball
tournament), Spokane is slowly shaking the
roughneck name that it started with in the
late 19th and early 20th centuries. And more
money is being invested in worthy forms of
entertainment, like the American Music
Festival at Riverfront Park (the fishing
grounds for the Spokane tribe) every July
4th, and concerts at the new Veteran's
Arena. Parks, recreational areas, trails,
campgrounds and much more are all available
to make this the "All American City," and
the place to be.
Alden, James W.
Spokane River and Plains - trail runs N. N.
E, 1857 - 1862.
Northwest Boundary Commission. Records of
the Bureau of Land Management; Record Group
76; Control No: NWDNC-76-E221-ALDEN19.
National Archives Building, Washington, DC.
The closest I have yet been able to
locate or describe Plante's Crossing is a
place that was called Plante's Ferry.
(previous coordinator's message)
was located nine miles east of the Spokane
Falls, what is today Trent, Spokane, County.
The ferry crossing the Spokane River, was
built by Antoine Plante in 1851. He was a
French Indian-Trapper, stockman, and guide.
Sometime in the 1870's, when the bridges
were built his ferry business was no longer