April 28th, 2012
Spokane is the second largest city in Washington with a population of around 208,000 people. It is located way across in the East of the state close to the border of Idaho. The city was founded in 1871 but the North West Company opened the Spokane House trading post as early as 1810.
The city has the Spokane River running straight through the middle of it and what is quite unique is that there is also a large waterfall right downtown! The river was actually at flood levels during my visit and was absolutely raging! Spokane Falls was experiencing a great rush of water as a result. Very impressive!
Spokane was home to the Expo 1974 Worlds Fair of which there are still a number of buildings and structures remaining around town particularly in Riverfront Park which was the main fairgrounds. This park is essentially the centrepiece of the city. Around it are a number of historic downtown buildings and also the 1909 Looff Carousel. Spokane is a nice looking little city.
Spokane was also the childhood home of famous singer and actor Bing Crosby (1903-1977). His family house sits on the grounds of his old alma mater Conzaga University. There is a nice statue of Bing at the nearby Crosby Student Centre (someone has stolen his trademark smoking pipe!). They have a small museum with memorabilia in the centre but unfortunately it was closed when I was there, although through the window I could see the collection including Bing’s 1944 best actor Academy Award for his role as Father O’Malley in “Going My Way” (reading the fine print it is a duplicate on loan from the Academy Association). I always enjoyed watching his road movies with Bob Hope. Downtown there is also the Bing Crosby Theater.