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Secrets of Spokane

It seems to me that every city has its own interesting history and surprising trivia. Boston has Babe Ruth. Chicago has deep-dish pizzas. San Francisco has Alcatraz. So I can't help but ask the question: "What about Spokane?" Sure, we are known for our clock tower, the funky Expo '74 sculpture in the middle of Riverfront Park and our Bloomsday and Hoopfest traditions, but what else? Being curious, I naturally poked around and found some lesser known trivia that might excite you about the Lilac City. Take a look and explore these places for yourself on your next visit to Spokane.

  • The 1974 World's Fair was the only fair of the bicentennial era held in the United States. Spokane was chosen to hold the event, making us the smallest city in the world to ever be its host. Because the city was an old rail yard, tons of work was done to make it a pristine green space for the fair. As if that wasn't enough, Spokane chose the theme "Celebrating Tomorrow's Fresh New Environment" being the first World's Fair ever to have been environmentally-focused! See the Expo ‘74 Plaque in Riverfront Park to learn more.
  • The Spokane Jazz Orchestra is the oldest continually performing jazz assembly in the United States. It started in 1962 when local musicians and students formed a band. Over the years, featured performers included stars like Dizzy Gillespie, Della Reese, Diana Krall and Mel Torme. Today, the Spokane Jazz Orchestra plays in the Bing Crosby Theater. Check their website for upcoming shows and events!
  • In Spokane's very own Greenwood Memorial Terrace, you can find an old cannon from the Spanish American War. It is one of only three that were returned to the U.S. from the Philippines after the war in 1898. Take a walk around the cemetery to find it!
  • Behind Frank's Diner in downtown Spokane is a retaining wall that runs next to the BNSF rail line. It is made from the stones of old buildings that once stood in Spokane years ago. The names of these buildings and lines of facades can still be seen even to this day!
  • If you search hard enough, there is an ice cave on Spring Lane near the Spokane Country Club. This cave will always have icicles hanging on its walls, even in the middle of summer. Go check it out!
  • Coeur d'Alene, Idaho holds two world records. It has the world's longest floating boardwalk and the world's only floating golf green. You can drive to Coeur d'Alene in just 30 minutes from Spokane!
  • Several Spokane streets were paved with red brick that were formed with a particular type of clay to ensure the road could withstand the heat and the cold. Weighing up to eleven pounds each, paving these streets was no easy task! You can still see some of those original brick streets in Browne's Addition and in downtown Spokane.
  • More than twenty movies have been filmed in the Inland Northwest. These movies include "Vision Quest," "Benny & Joon" with Johnny Depp (filmed at the Milk Bottle on Garland Ave.), the film "Toys" with Robin Williams, "Dante's Peak," Chuck Norris' "The Cutter" and Samuel L. Jackson's "Home of the Brave."
  • Up until 2006, Jack and Dan's Bar & Grill near Gonzaga University was owned by Jack Stockton who was the father of former NBA All-Star John Stockton, a former Gonzaga player. Sports Illustrated Magazine voted this local hangout one of the top 25 sports bars in the country.
  • Spokane residents gave more in donations to the Red Cross during Hurricane Katrina and the September 11th attack than either Seattle, WA or Portland, OR.



Wow! I've lived here for 12 years now and only new about half of these. Thanks for the interesting tidbits of history.

On June 22, 2010 at 12:00 AM Jeremy Armes wrote:

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