Spokane, Washington

The largest city in the county of the same name, Spokane is located in northwestern United States in the state of Washington. The city is located on the Spokane River in the Eastern Washington and also the county seat of Spokane County. Spokane is the second largest city in the state behind Seattle.

Learn here about why Spokane has weather patterns that do not match with other parts of the Pacific Northwest and the various things that you can do here. Life in Spokane is influenced by its climate and geographical location.

Explore the dozens of lakes and rivers, golf courses, wineries, ski resorts, national parks, the Columbia River Gorge and the Grand Coulee Park, all within a short drive from Spokane. Some of the major National Parks in the country are just 4 1/2 hours drive from Spokane. We also discuss the history of Spokane right from the times when the first humans came to live here as hunter-gatherer societies.

Spokane is an attractive city for both local residents as well as tourists. There are intriquing options in entertainment, education, affordable living and many other benefits the city offers its residents. People of any age or any profession will surely find the city exciting and vivacious to their own liking.

Spokane History

Spokane Falls, as Spokane was known before, has a long history. The area surrounding it was a gathering place and a focus for settlement of indigenous people due to the fertile hunting grounds and abundance of fish in the Spokane River.

The area was first explored by David Thompson, a Canadian explorer-geographer working as the head of the North West Company's Columbia Department. He and his men began the European settlement by building a new fur trading post at the nexus of the Little Spokane and Spokane River. The first American settlers built a cabin and established a claim at Spokane Falls in 1871 and built a small sawmill near the south bank of the River. Two Oregonians, James N. Glover and Jasper Matheney, who were passing through the region in 1873 saw the potential of the Spoken River and its falls and bought the claims and also the sawmill from the first American settlers knowing that the National Pacific Railroad Company had received a government charter to build a main line in the area.

The City of Spokane Falls was officially incorporated in November 1881 as a city with 1,000 residents. The Northern Pacific Railway was completed in 1881 and there was no looking back. It brought a large number of European settlers, from as far as Germany, Finland and England and as near as from Minnesota and the Dakotas. The arrival of the railroad gave Spokane a boost and its population jumped to 18,922 in 1890 and then to 36,848 in 1900.

A fire, which came to be known as the Great Fire, on August 4, 1889 destroyed 32 blocks of Spokane's downtown district. Although it was a devastating blow, the city's growth continued unabated and jumped to 102,402 in 1910. The city was reincorporated as Spokane in 1891 and the word Falls was dropped. Within three years of the Great Fire, the Great Northern Railway arrived in a newly created township of Hillyard, which was annexed to Spokane in 1924.

With national corporations taking control of regional mines and other resources from the locals, this led to a small decline in Spokane's economy as well as population in the 1910s. The next two decades saw a similar slowdown due to decrease in the demand of extractive products from farms, forests and mines on which the Inland Northwest was highly dependent. Spokane's economy got a boost with the start of the World War II, which led to the start of aluminum production in the Spokane valley due to demand for airplanes and the area's inexpensive electricity.

Downtown Spokane has undergone a major rebirth in the 21st century. There have been huge investments in malls, hotels and renovation of existing buildings. The development, which has been directly across the Spokane River, envisages blending the residential and retail space with plazas and walking trails.

About Spokane, Washington

Located in Eastern Washington and on the River Spokane, the city of Spokane is 110 miles south of the Canadian border and 271 miles to the east of Seattle. It is the seat of the Spokane County and also the metropolitan center of the Inland Northwestern region.

Spokane derives its name from the Native American tribe of the same name. It means 'Children of the Sun' in Salish, a group of languages of the Pacific Northwest. The official nickname of the city is 'Lilac City', which refers to the flowers that flourished in the area after their introduction to the area in the early 20th century.

Spokane is surrounded by several communities, some of them unincorporated, which make up the suburbs of the city. Some of the suburbs include but are not limited to Cheney, Airway Heights, Mead, Colbert, Spokane Valley, Millwood, Nine Mile Falls, Otis Orchards, and Liberty Lake. Just across the border in Idaho, which is approximately 20 miles to the east of Spokane, is Coeur d'Alene the largest and the principal city of the Coeur d'Alene Metropolitan Statistical Area and home to the second largest metropolitan area in the state of Idaho.

The population of the city was recorded at 208,913 in the 2010 census, making it the 100th largest city in the USA. More than 85% percent of the population is white and the rest comprises of African American (3.1%), American Indian and Alaska Native (3.5%), Asian (3.7%) and Native Hawaiian and other Pacific Islander. The fact that the population of Spokane has shown a steady growth right from its inception speaks volumes of the opportunities it offers to people wanting to move in.

Spokane and the areas around it are the most productive mining areas in North America, the reason why it has traditionally been a natural resource based economy. Things have however changed and the city's economy has now diversified and includes other industries, including sectors like hi-tech and biotech.

There is a lot to do in Spokane. From whitewater adventures to winter sports to biking, hiking and backpacking, there is never a dull moment. You may also want to discover Spokane's unique neighborhood communities or take a leisurely walk around the city's historic downtown, visit a Smithsonian-affiliated museum, or taste some of the award winning wines. The city's motto, Near Nature: Near Perfect tells all that nature lovers would want to know about Spokane's surroundings.

About Spokane County, Washington

Spokane County in the State of Washington is named after the Spokane tribe of Native Americans. The county was formed in 1858 but annexed by Stevens County in 1864. However, it was re-created in 1879. At present, it is the state's fourth most populated county with a population of 471,221 (2010 census). Its largest city, Spokane is also its county seat.

Spokane County is a large county having a total area of 1,781 square miles out of which only 0.96% (17 square miles) is water. Spokane River behind the Long Lake Dam is the lowest point (1538 feet above sea level) in the county. The highest point is Mount Spokane's summit which is 5883 feet above sea level.

Spokane River, Little Spokane River (a tributary of Spokane) and Latah Creek are the major riverine geographical features of the county. There are four prominent lakes and reservoirs, namely Medical Lake, West Medical Lake, Liberty Lake and Newman Lake. Mount Spokane is the only mountain in the county. Dishman Hills Natural Conservation Area and Riverside State Park are the two notable parks in the county. Spokane County is also home to the Turnbull National Wildlife Refuge.

The population of Spokane County has more than doubled in the last six decades. Presently, the population density is 237 people per square mile; there are about 99 household units per square mile. The racial makeup is predominantly white with 88.62%. Native Americans, African Americans and Asians all comprise of less than 2% each.

The Spokane Library District was created in 1942 with a specific purpose of serving, as a limited purpose municipal corporation, the unincorporated areas of Spokane County. However, the Library District also serves cities and towns of Deer Park, Millwood, Latah, Fairfield, Cheney, Medical Lake, Rockford, Spangle, Spokane Valley, and Waverly (annexed to District); and Airway Heights (contracting with District). The total population served by the Library is 236,120 out of which 123,411 is unincorporated county and the rest is affiliated towns and cities.