The Lead: Greatest moment in Spokane history?

SpokaneDTPanorama

(By Brandon Hansen/Managing Editor of the Chewelah Independent… yes this is a satire article, folks)

Yes, going to the Final Four is probably Spokane’s crowning achievement…

I am not being over-dramatic here.

Gonzaga going to the Final Four might be the greatest moment in Spokane history. How do I know this? When I took my car into the dealership last week to get the trunk hatch fixed, the technician out of the blue told me “Go Zags!” Why? I wasn’t wearing any Zags gear. I didn’t have any basketball stuff on. Nope, it’s because I was in Spokane and anything people talk about right now in town has to do with the Zags. And you know what? Of course they do. The games have been rollercoaster rides. The Zags have beaten both Bill Murray and Elaine from Seinfeld. Mark Few continues to show that he does, indeed, get excited some times.

This isn’t a knock against the city. If there is one thing that Spokane does well, it’s how it portrays itself as the second biggest city in Washington. They never had an NBA franchise move away, they were too busy winning Arena Football championships. They didn’t have a Big Bertha drill get stuck underground because they’re smart and just added an extra freeway into town (a novel idea Seattle, having only four ways into the city doesn’t exactly alleviate traffic). Spokane doesn’t have some like historical massacre that will forever mark it as a city of infamy (Looking at you Pawnee), there was no great battle fought here during the Revolutionary War or something and Spokane is not home to Florida man.

(Seriously, how does Florida even exist? It seems like every day in the state of Florida, somebody eats bathsalts, uses a crossbow in a crime or drives a donut truck into a river.)

Nope, the city that many of us in Chewelah go to for much-needed goods is pretty mellow. I will go to my grave swearing it’s a nice place to live, despite what a latte-hyped fedora-wearing hipster in Seattle might say. While a Guardian article came out before Gonzaga’s run in the tournament, painting the town as a hellscape with a dead economy, rampant crime and a weird obsession with Mark Few – most people who live in the town are happy that there’s a Dutch Bros. or Starbucks on every corner, you’re 10 minutes from literally any store or restaurant in the “mid-sized city” lexicon and Riverfront Park has a clock tower that you can re-enact the scene from Back to the Future in.

1280px-Monroe_Street_Dam_on_Spokane_River

Spokane is such a good place, a small private college making the NCAA Final Four is the most important thing that’s happened in its history. There’s nothing that tops it in city-defining moments, and that’s a good thing. I’ve taken the great effort of looking up Spokane’s Wikipedia page and ranking the great moments in Spokane history.

1. Zags make the Final Four for the first time – Division Street renamed Williams-Goss.

2. The Great Fire of 1889 – Have you ever noticed how every city has a great fire in the 1880s-1910s? Did we just invent matches for the first time back then? Anyways, lack of water pressure (aha!) in downtown pumps caused a fire to consume the entire downtown area of Spokane. Naturally they rebuilt it and put a bus plaza there.

3. First hunter gatherers live in Spokane 13,000 years ago – Unless you believe NBA player Kyrie Irving, then the Earth is flat, is probably like 100 years old and is made of cake.

4. The British thought Colville was a better spot than Spokane – In the first economic slowdown in Spokane history, a British fur company decided Colville was a better place to trap furry animals and moved their Spokane operations up north. They probably had to follow a wagon going 45 mph on Highway 395 the entire time.

5. There was a battle fought over Four Lakes – There was an actual battle between the US army and some local combined tribes in the Battle of Four Lakes and the Battle of Spokane Plains. Four Lakes now has a John Deere dealership, a bar and a gas station.

6. Finding gold in CDA – It was 1883 and they found gold in Northern Idaho. This no doubt started the trend of people working in the Spokane-CDA area, crossing a stateline to work and coming back at night wondering why there is traffic in the Spokane Valley.

7. Building of the Monroe Street Bridge in 1911 – That’s the iconic Spokane bridge that frames the Spokane Falls. Nothing is more memorable in the city’s history except for perhaps the Riverfront Park tent, the clocktower and Adam Morrison’s mustache.

8. World Fair Expo 74 – This birthed Riverfront Park from a train depot. It came at a time when Spokane’s population was dropping from a sagging economy and the fair was important for civic pride. Now the city’s economy is completely based around microbreweries and coffee shops.

9. The Spokane Chiefs winning the Memorial Cup – The Chiefs have won it twice. Most recently in 2008 and the junior league hockey team from America can claim fame to breaking the prized Canadian trophy when they won it. Yep. It literally broke as they were celebrating winning the cup. Seattle wishes they could break trophies they won, but the Mariners haven’t been to the postseason since the Bush Administration and the Seahawks’ offensive line consists of scotch tape (poor Russell Wilson).

So there you have it. With this Final Four appearance by the Zags, I think we can say that Spokane has the best history of any city in the US that isn’t on like on Page 1 of your high school history book. Seriously look up the history of the Tri Cities – their claim to fame is having a nuclear reactor that leaks. Spokane’s history reads like something from the “Parks and Rec” town of Pawnee but much nicer and with less obesity.

And with that said. Go Zags.

I-90


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