It seems like the stories from the old days need to develop a certain patina before we really tune in. Take our World's Fair. We've covered the 20th anniversary here, and the 25th, but nothing seemed to gain traction like this past year's 40th anniversary. There were events all summer, a gala, and a community-wide decision to make a big investment in the old fairgrounds for the first time since the 1970s. It just took a while to fully appreciate the story.
Andy Dinnison and I have talked a lot over the years about the Spokane Syndrome and how a lot of us don't fully appreciate what we have here. We both feel like something is changing.
"Everything local is hot right now," Andy says of items for sale at his two downtown shops, Boo Radley's and Atticus. He's got vintage prints by our own art director, Chris Bovey, depicting iconic Spokane landmarks. And along with books by Jess Walter and Shawn Vestal, he's selling recently published books of local writers' work: Lilac City Fairy Tales, Spokane Shorties and the Railtown Almanac.
Andy and I have seen a lot of Spokane growing up as a city. Around the time of Expo, we used to play dodgeball at recess behind the old Roosevelt school up on 14th and Bernard. We both went into business here in 1993. And lately, we've both watched Spokane do something pretty surprising: blossom. We have our problems, but it's not a place people are itching to leave as much as they used to. People — millennials, even, as you'll read about this week — are putting down roots.
"We're starting to get a feeling for what we are here," Andy says. "Most cities have an identity, but we've always kind of struggled to know what our secret handshake is. I think we're figuring that out and having some fun with it."
Hence the interest in all things local. So add to that mix our own contribution — Inlander Histories, a collection of 24 local history pieces we've published over the years. (You can buy a copy at Atticus, Boo Radley's and a variety of other local shops.) If you love local beer and want to know more about Spokane's original brewmaster, it's in there. And you can learn the unvarnished, tragic story of Spokane Garry, whose life shows us the ugly side of our pioneer days.
History helps us all connect to home. Thinking about those who traveled the same trails, waterways and streets as we do today can be profound. Seeing that people want to make that connection is proof that community pride is on the rise. ♦