My second stop on my Reading Around the World Tour is Spokane in eastern Washington State. Spokane is approximately 140 miles northeast of stop #1 (Kennewick, WA).
Some fun facts about Spokane:
- it is named after the Spokane Indian Tribe whose name means "Children of the Sun"
- the first Father's Day celebrations took place here on June 19, 1910
- the city's nickname is the Lilac City and is home to the Lilac Festival
- the city is home to Bloomsday, the largest timed foot race in the world
- also home to Hoopfest, the largest 3-on-3 basketball tournament in the world
Spokane is/was home to these famous people:
Authors Sherman Alexie and David Eddings
Convicted serial rapist Kevin Coe and serial killers Robert Lee Yates and Jack Owen Spillman
Singer/film actor Bing Crosby
"Bugs Bunny" animator/director Chuck Jones
"Twin Peaks" co-creator director David Lynch
Actor Darren McGavin of "Kolchak the Night Stalker"
Oscar-winning actress Hilary Swank
Ambassador Ryan Crocker, former ambassador to Iraq
Former Congressman Tom Foley, former Speaker of the House
Astronaut Michael P. Anderson, killed in the Space Shuttle Columbia disaster
Nobel Prize winners Walter Houser Brattain (Physics) and Irwin Rose (Chemistry)
Debbie Rowe, Michael Jackson's ex-wife and mother to his children
In 1974, Spokane was home to Expo '74, the first environmentally themed World's Fair.
Well, that gives a little background to where this book is set. The book is Citizen Vince by Spokane native and Edgar Award winning author, Jess Walter. Set in October-November 1980, the presidential campaign and election features prominently.
It revolves around the character of Vince Camden, a crook from New York City who was put into the Witness Protection Program and sent to Spokane with a new identity. (Talk about culture shock!) His past comes back to haunt him and about a third of the book will take place back in NYC. But most of the book has a Spokane setting. Some of the settings:
The federal courthouse (now known as the Thomas S. Foley United States Courthouse)
The Spokane County Courthouse: It was finished in 1895 and is worth $4 million today. The architect was Willis A. Richey (who was trained by correspondence course!) and he designed it after a French castle.
The Paulsen Building: Consists of 2 buildings and was constructed in the early 1900's by August Paulsen, a native of Denmark. When complete in 1908, it was the tallest and most modern building in Spokane.
The Davenport Hotel: Named after Louis Davenport, its first proprietor, and designed by architect Kirtland Cutter. It was the first hotel with air conditioning, central vacuum system, pipe organ, and dividing doors in the ballroom. The first Crab Louis was created and served at the Davenport.
P.M. Jacoy's: Well-known seller of cigars, sporting-event tickets, magazines, books, and the largest selection of out-of-town newspapers in Spokane and opened in 1897.
Sunset Hill: Located where the Columbia Plateau descends into the Spokane Valley and the Latah Valley
One of the great lines in the book is that of the harsh winters in Spokane, "a cross between upstate New York and Pluto."
My next whistle-stop will be approximately 280 miles to the west in Seattle!