Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Francis H. Cook, the Father of Manito Park – Part 2

According to the book, “Manito Park: A Reflection of Spokane’s Past”:

Francis Cook was born in 1851 in Marietta, Ohio where he learned the printing trade and purchased his first newspaper at the age of 16.  With only $15 in his pocket, he set out for the Pacific Northwest when he was 19 years old.  Upon his arrival, he was employed by the Olympia “Puget Sound Courier”.  He later bought the “Olympia Echo”, which he operated for three years before starting the first newspaper in Tacoma, the “Tacoma Herald”.

During his time in Western Washington, Cook became familiar with the beauty and potential of Eastern Washington.  In 1878 he moved to Spokane Falls and started the “Spokan Times” Spokane’s first newspaper.  The first issue was dated May 8, 1879.  When Cook arrived in Spokane, there were differing opinions about the spelling of Spokane.  Sometimes the final “e” was used, and sometimes it was not.  Cook chose the latter as being more phonetically accurate.  He believed people would give the “a” the long sound with the “e” placed at the end.  As cook predicted, Spokane is still often pronounced “Spokayne” by outsiders.

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Francis H. Cook, the Father of Manito Park– Part 1

According to the book, “Manito Park: A Reflection of Spokane’s Past”:

In his book “News for an Empire”, Ralph Dyar described the arrival of Francis Cook in the following way, “Seventy-four years after the discovery of the Inland Empire, its trading-center-to-be got a newspaper by the grace of God and a tramp printer…The itinerant printer was Francis H. Cook, a native of Ohio, who had set type on newspapers in many other states.”

This “Tramp Printer” would become one of Spokane’s most notable, but unsung historical figures.  He was a former elected member of the Territorial Legislative Council, and although the youngest member of both houses, he was chosen as the chairman.  According to published accounts of Cook, he was a colorful, hard working and honest man.  His enthusiasm and faith in early Spokane was the driving force behind his many worthy enterprises.  Although none brought him lasting monetary gain, he gave Spokane some of its most notable legacies. He was truly a visionary whose ideas and actions were ahead of their time.


A lot more about Francis Cook later.  Stay tuned and check in with ManitoPark.Org every week for the next chapter.

Tuesday, July 8, 2014

In 1903, Spokane reported to have 7 millionaires!

Early in Spokane’s history as a city, an area then called “The Hill” developed simultaneously with Browne’s Addition (named for the early Spokane settler, John J. Browne).  “The Hill” was on the south side of the city below the Manito plateau, roughly between Stevens and Monroe.  As the people and the wealth from the mines poured into Spokane, mansions began appearing in this area.  In 1896, F. Lewis Clark, owner of the C&C Flour Mill in downtown Spokane, built a mansion at 701 West Seventh Avenue, and the following year, Daniel C. Corbin and his son, Austin Corbin II, began construction of two colonial homes on Seventh Avenue.  Austin’s home at the end of Post Street, the more palatial of the two, cost $33,000.  Daniel Corbin’s home at the end of Stevens Street originally cost $17,000.  The cost figures all appeared in “The Chronicle” on January 6, 1899.  Other mansions followed as Spokane basked in its “Age of Elegance”, and by the year 1900, the city of Spokane was bursting with expansion.  Hundreds of city lots were surveyed, platted and awaited buyers.  In 1903, the Spokesman-Review boasted, “Spokane has 7 millionaires.”  A new upscale neighborhood was taking shape and expanding in a residential area around what is now Manito Park.
Bibliography:  “Manito Park: A Reflection of Spokane’s Past” by Tony and Suzanne Bamonte, 1998.

Tuesday, July 1, 2014

Wyatt Earp in the Spokane area?

According to the book, “Manito Park, A Reflection of Spokane’s Past”, the original Wyatt of Tombstone Arizona fame speculated in several businesses in the Coeur D’Alene mining district, and in 1884 became a deputy sheriff for Kootenai County.   He was involved in at least two local gunfights in Eagle City, Idaho, about 85 miles East of Spokane as the crow flies.  These events were recorded on April 5, 1884 and June 28, 1884 issues of the “Spokane Falls Review”.