HISTORY OF SPOKANE WASHINGTON
The rugged beauty and outdoor recreation, with a vibrant and thriving economy, are just part of what makes Spokane such a great place to live, work, and play. Boasting ideal weather, an outdoor lifestyle, and high quality of life, Spokane offers fantastic opportunities for employment, education, and enjoyment. With a population of more than 227,579, Spokane is the second-largest city in Washington State and has continued to thrive in recent years. But there’s more to this economic and cultural center than meets the eye.
History of Spokane
The history of Spokane stretches back to the 1870s when Major General Henry C. Colville – then known as Colville City – ordered the construction of a military post here. The soon-to-be-named city of Spokane Falls was established and was officially born on June 9, 1873. It became an incorporated municipality in 1881 and was renamed the City of Spokane after it became the county seat. The first train arrived at the newly-established city on Christmas Day of 1881.
In the following years, Spokane’s population increased, and the city was considered “booming” in the late 1800s. Barracks and supply stores were erected for the military barracks and also homes for settlers. Great Northern Railway was built through Spokane in 1887, which further helped the city to flourish. In 1889, the land for the fairgrounds and exposition district was purchased. By the early 1900s, the population had once again increased, causing increased traffic into the city. With an increased population came an increased need for larger infrastructure. The routing of the Mount St. Helens Railroad was deemed necessary in 1911 to better accommodate Spokane’s population demands. Now known as the Northern Pacific, the railroad brought farmers and produce to the city and made it easier to ship out the goods local farmers and manufacturers were producing.
Spokane: The Capital of the Inland Empire
Spokane became officially known as the Capital of the Inland Empire in 1910 after a proposal was made to change its name to “Spokane Falls,” since the city was no longer on the Spokane River. However, the name didn’t stick, and the city officially became the Capitol of the Inland Empire.
Spokane crafted its growth, and the city became known as an excellent cultural, educational, and healthcare center – and it continues to do so. There are several universities located in the city, including Gonzaga University, which was first established in 1887 and eventually became a university in 1919. The first medical school west of the Mississippi was also created here, in 1892, at Gonzaga University. Today, Gonzaga University has an enrollment of more than 7,421 students and is located on a beautiful, expansive campus.
Historic buildings and landmarks that date back centuries can be seen throughout Spokane, and they contribute to the city’s history and self-sustained culture. As the second-largest city in the state of Washington, Spokane is constantly growing and always striving to make its neighborhoods, schools, and hospitals better.
Charm and Fun:
With such a rich history, Spokane, WA certainly has a quirky combination of old-world charm and contemporary entertainment. In fact, the city is home to the Garlic Festival, which has been held annually since 1985. Visitors can sample dishes that feature garlic in everything from soups to bread to main courses and desserts. And the festival extends with great entertainment options, like a Garlic-In-The-Hairs contest, garlic lip-synchs contest, a Garlic Breath contest, and garlic breath contests in conjunction with a bicycle race. The Garlic Festival is a great event for the whole family and offers a bit of holiday cheer each year.
Another special event you can’t miss is the Spokane Lilac Festival, which is held every year in May. Lilac Lane, located on the fairgrounds, is transformed into a spectacular display of over 80 nonprofit organizations with stunning, fragrant lilacs. There is also a parade, car show, and a celebration will be held at Riverfront Park. The Lilac Festival is a true celebration of Spokane and a must-see if you visit the city in May!
There are plenty of other events happening year-round, including music and arts festivals, the staging of popular feature films and national theatre performances, and four world-class golf courses. Spokane is also something of a foodie city, meaning you’ll find a variety of restaurants, dishes, and flavors to choose from when eating out, including celebrated chefs adapting and offering countless entrees and specialties. And live music can be found in clubs and nightclubs almost every night of the week, as local and regional bands perform gigs.
Spokane is a great city and has a rich history for the beautiful, close-knit city that it has become. From arts and crafts to beautiful natural scenery, Spokane has something for everyone.