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More About Spokane, Washington
Spokane ( spoh-KAN) is the largest city and county seat of Spokane County, Washington, United States. It is in eastern Washington, along the Spokane River, adjacent to the Selkirk Mountains, and west of the Rocky Mountain foothills, 92 miles (148 km) south of the Canadian border, 18 miles (30 km) west of the Washington–Idaho border, and 279 miles (449 km) east of Seattle, along I-90.
Spokane is the economic and cultural center of the Spokane metropolitan area, the Spokane–Coeur d’Alene combined statistical area, and the Inland Northwest. It is known as the birthplace of Father’s Day, and locally by the nickname of “Lilac City”. Officially, Spokane goes by the nickname of Hooptown USA, due to Spokane annually hosting Spokane Hoopfest, the world’s largest basketball tournament. The city and the wider Inland Northwest area are served by Spokane International Airport, 5 miles (8 km) west of Downtown Spokane. According to the 2010 census, Spokane had a population of 208,916, making it the second-largest city in Washington, and the 101st-largest city in the United States. At the 2020 census, Spokane’s population was 228,989. A 2021 estimate sets the population of the Spokane Metropolitan Area at 593,466.
The first people to live in the area, the Spokane tribe (their name meaning “children of the sun” in Salishan), lived off plentiful game. David Thompson explored the area with the westward expansion and establishment of the North West Company’s Spokane House in 1810. This trading post was the first long-term European settlement in Washington. Completion of the Northern Pacific Railway in 1881 brought settlers to the Spokane area. The same year it was officially incorporated as a city under the name of Spokane Falls (it was re-incorporated under its current name ten years later). In the late 19th century, gold and silver were discovered in the Inland Northwest. The local economy depended on mining, timber, and agriculture until the 1980s. Spokane hosted the first environmentally themed World’s fair at Expo ’74.
Many of the downtown area’s older Romanesque Revival-style buildings were designed by architect Kirtland Kelsey Cutter after the Great Fire of 1889. The city is also home to the Riverfront and Manito parks, the Smithsonian-affiliated Northwest Museum of Arts and Culture, the Davenport Hotel, and the Fox and Bing Crosby theaters.