The name Spokane was taken from the Indian people who lived in the area long before the whites arrived shortly before 1900. Spokane, translated "Children of the Sun," lies in an area with an average of two hundred days of sunshine each year.
It is an area enjoyed by Canadians and Americans where both flags fly side by side in many places. Both national anthems are played at local hockey games and the parking meters accept both American and Canadian coins.
In 1889 the young town was devastated by a fire, but everything was built bigger and better than it was before. In 1974 Spokane hosted the World's Fair. The old railroad station was turned into a beautiful one hundred acre site and remains today as a lovely park.
The silver and metals of the mines of Northern Idaho, the fields of wheat in the Palouse, and the timbered mountains made the city what it is today. The railroad played a big part in the building of the city. Many industrial companies have recently come into the area to make it a trade center for a huge area.
The city is not only a hub for the railroad, but is a regional trucking center. There is much hydroelectric power that is relative inexpensive. Spokane has an excellent school system with several major universities in the area. There are six hospitals in the area and wonderful police and fire departments.
Not only is Spokane in the center of wheat and timber, but there are 189,000 people living within the city and 401,000 in the whole county. It lies at the edge of the Columbia Basin and near the beginning of the Rocky Mountains. It is a drive of 290 miles to Seattle, 380 to Portland and nearly 500 to Calgary. With no other large cities in Eastern Washington it has grown alone with a character of its very own.
Spokane's Genealogy Section of the downtown library is the very best of the area. Knowledgeable volunteer genealogists are available three days each week (Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday), and are more than willing to help the beginner get started or the more involved solve intricate problems if they can.
Written by EWGS member, Dottie Braithwait
edited by webmaster for clarity.