Spokane, the second-largest city in Washington State, is steeped in history, thanks to its close proximity to several significant historical events that have played out in the area. From skirmishes and treaties to boomtowns and railways, here are seven historical events that have taken place near Spokane, WA.
1. Battle of Spokane Plains
The Battle of Spokane Plains took place on September 5, 1858, between the U.S. Army and a coalition of Indian tribes, including the Coeur d'Alene, Spokane, and Palouse. The battle was fought near what is now the Spokane International Airport, and it ended in a decisive victory for the U.S. army, marking the culmination of the Spokane-Coeur d'Alene-Palouse War.
2. Spokane's founding and early years
Spokane's first permanent settlement was established in 1871, and the city officially became incorporated in 1881. During its early years, Spokane developed into a bustling center of trade and transportation, thanks to the arrival of the Northern Pacific Railroad and the construction of the Spokane and Inland Empire Railroad.
3. The Great Fire of 1889
On August 4, 1889, a fire broke out in downtown Spokane, destroying over 30 city blocks and causing an estimated $3 million in damages (equivalent to over $88 million today). The fire led to a massive reconstruction effort, with many buildings in downtown Spokane being rebuilt in brick and stone.
4. The Spokane Valley's agricultural boom
Throughout the late 19th and early 20th centuries, Spokane's neighboring Spokane Valley became known for its fertile farmland and thriving agricultural industry. The town of Greenacres, located in the heart of the valley, became particularly well-known for its orchards and berry farms.
5. The Spokane Indians' World Series win
In 1903, the Spokane Indians, a minor league baseball team, won the championship of the Pacific Coast League. The Indians were the first professional sports team from Spokane to win a championship, and the victory helped put the city on the map as a destination for sports enthusiasts.
6. The Treaty of 1855
The Treaty of 1855 was signed on June 9, 1855, between representatives of the U.S. government and several Indian tribes, including the Spokane, Coeur d'Alene, and Kalispel. The treaty established the Spokane Indian Reservation, which encompasses over 150,000 acres of land in northeastern Washington.
7. The Expo '74 World's Fair
From May to November 1974, Spokane hosted the Expo '74 World's Fair, which featured exhibits and pavilions from over 50 countries. The fair was notable for its focus on environmentalism and sustainability, and it helped spur economic growth and development in Spokane in the decades that followed.
All in all, Spokane's history is rich and varied, with significant events spanning centuries of human occupation in the area. By embracing its past and preserving its historical sites, Spokane continues to develop as a dynamic and fascinating city, with plenty to offer both residents and visitors alike.
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