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You Won’t Believe These SHOCKING Stories Out of Spokane!

Spokane Has Some Crazy Stories in its History

In a city best known for its family friendliness and athletic events, it’s easy to forget about some of the whacky, scandalous, and downright crazy stories that Spokane is built upon. But have no fear! We’ve curated some of the best tidbits from Spokane’s history for your reading pleasure, from the pleasantly surprising to the downright ghastly.

 

Enjoy!

 

Bigfoot Lives Here

 

Washington state has more sasquatch (Bigfoot) sightings than any other state in the country. In fact, there are more than 500 sightings to date, and with the dense forests all in and around Spokane, a large portion of those sightings have happened right here in Eastern Washington. And these stories aren’t just a modern phenomenon. For centuries, Native Americans in the region have told tales of tall and hairy man-like creatures that would steal salmon from fishing nets and eat it raw, like a bear. The sasquatch was known to wander the forests, shambling on two legs.

 

Later settlers and missionaries in the area wrote about creatures that left behind tracks that were a foot and a half long. These creatures were said to sneak into settlers’ cabins, dragging still-sleeping men back to caves in the mountains, for lord only knows what purpose. These sightings and the resulting stories about the sasquatch have continued to this day, and if anything, have become even more prolific in recent decades. 

bigfoot in spokane

Photo credit: Getty Images

Bigfoot mania experienced a resurgence in the 1960s after the infamous Patterson-Gimlin film of the sasquatch strolling through the woods. And in 1994, another famous film was shot just outside of nearby Walla Walla, which purports to show a bigfoot family.   

 

If you’re feeling adventurous and want a chance to see the beast for yourself, check out one of the local sasquatch sighting tours in the area, like the ones offered by Extreme Expeditions Northwest, who even hosts an annual Sasquatch Roundup

 

Murders at the Helena 

 

The Helena, now renovated and rebranded as the Pearl on Adams, was once home to several grisly murders. The whole ordeal began in 1998, after developmentally disabled resident Kelly Conway had gone missing. Apartment building manager Stanley L. Pietrzak, had bragged to another resident that he had violated and murdered Conway. 

 

In April of 1999, the police finally received a tip about Conway and the misdeeds at the Helena. Upon searching the building, the police found a piece of human scalp with the hair still attached (yuck!) which was hanging from a gas pipe in the basement. Additionally, a box was found in the building’s furnace that contained a staggering 1,350 pieces of bone! Through the investigative process, it was discovered that Conway had died in Pietrzak’s bed, with drugs and alcohol in her system. Luckily for Spokane’s residents, Pietrzak wasn’t very good at covering his murderous tracks. Pietrzak had actually bragged about the murder to several other residents of the Helena. These residents stepped up to testify against the ghastly building manager, who was ultimately convicted of the murder and sent to prison.

 

Further investigation into Pietrzak leads to the conclusion that he likely killed at least two other women living in the Helena. The coroner on the case matched the manner of death to two other women who had died in Pietrzak’s bed in the Helena, in 1976 and May of 1998 (only a few months prior to Conway’s death). The court decided these cases were inadmissible as evidence, and the jury never got to decide upon them.

 

Apartment living can have its benefits, but if you’d rather not risk a murderous building manager, go ahead and check out these properties for sale in Spokane.

 

Bing Crosby’s White Christmas 

bing crosby spokane

Photo credit: Wikipedia

On a lighter note, many people don’t realize that Bing Crosby, who sings the uber famous version of the 1942 classic White Christmas, is actually from Spokane! Crosby grew up in Spokane and attended Gonzaga University (go Zags!). His influence in the city is so great that in 2006 the Clemmer Theater was renamed the Bing Crosby Theater and is affectionately referred to as the Bing.

 

White Christmas has sold over 100 million copies. 

 

 

 

The Legend of Irish Kate

 

In 1889, a staggering fire swept across Spokane, taking out the Spokane Falls and 32 city blocks. Within days of the fire, stories started to spread about Irish Kate, and her culpability in the destruction.

spokane falls fire

Photo credit: historylink.org

As legends tell it, Irish Kate was a barmaid in Spokane. One fateful night, Irish Kate stood at the bar, sipping her favorite drink – whiskey and water, when a drunken patron began to make unwanted advances. Irish Kate rebuked him and retreated to her bedroom. Unwilling to accept “no” for an answer, the man followed Kate and tried to force himself upon her. In her panicked attempts to get away, Irish Kate knocked over a lantern, starting the blaze. While Kate fled for her life, the fire roared, leaving nothing but ashes in its wake.

 

While the legend of Irish Kate is poorly supported by evidence, the legend of Irish Kate is alive and well in Spokane, with bars and locally made whiskeys named after her.

 

Someone Rode Over the Spokane Falls in a Dugout Log – And Lived!

 

Driving past the Spokane Falls in Downtown can be an inspiring experience. After all, they are big, beautiful, and powerful! But nearly 100 years ago, back in 1927, adventurer Al Faussett looked at the Spokane Falls and decided he wanted to go over them, the hard way. Faussett had gained a reputation for himself through a series of similar stunts. But with the Spokane Falls, Faussett may have bitten off a little more than he could chew.

spokane falls downtown

Photo credit: Rory Bowman

Faussett was attracted to the Spokane Falls because of their 146-foot drop and swift current. To navigate and ride the Falls down, Faussett planned to use a 15-foot dugout spruce. Faussett’s creations are part boat, part container, and were a huge part of how he conquered so many waterfalls with minimal injury. For the Spokane Falls, Faussett reinforced his dugout spruce with iron bands and oak roots to help protect him from impacts during the fall. But when launch day arrived, on June 1st of 1927, Fossett and his team couldn’t get his “boat” through the intense current of the Falls.

 

As Faussett continued to try to breach the current, his boat (with him inside) ultimately got caught and launched into the air, plummeting over the Falls. The estimated 20,000 – 40,000 people who came to watch the spectacle were quick to assume Faussett’s demise, but the rugged adventurer resurfaced after spending nearly a minute submerged underwater at the foot of the Falls. Faussett was taken by ambulance to the hospital, and luckily lived to tell the tale.

 

The Mother of Father’s Day

 

If your family celebrates Father’s Day, you can thank Spokane for that. The holiday was started at the local YMCA in 1910 by

spokane father's day

Photo credit: Boston Herald

Spokanite Sonora Smart Dodd. Dodd created the holiday to celebrate her own father, Civil War veteran William Jackson 

Smart. Smart was a single father who raised six kids – no small feat, as any single parent knows! 

Today, Father’s Day is celebrated nationwide and internationally. The Dodd House, home of Sonora Smart Dodd, is even on the National Historic Register as well as the Spokane Register of Historic Places. If you take a tour through this incredible historic building in Spokane, don’t forget to invite your dad!

 

Want to Make Your Own History in Spokane?

 

If you’re looking at buying or selling a home in Spokane, we’d love to learn a little more about your move and help you find the perfect space. Whether you’re looking to upgrade, relocate, or downsize, we can help you find what you’re looking for. Contact the Real Estate Agent Spokane Team today to set up a custom search and learn more about Spokane’s diverse land and housing offerings.

 

The Carrie Meyer, leader of the Real Estate Agent Spokane team, is passionate about Spokane, its history, and your future. She specializes in relocation transactions, and helps locals find their perfect home. Whether it’s forever or for now, Spokane has the house you’re looking for! 

 

Start your home search now, or contact us at (509) 774-4060 to learn more about the area and our team!

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10 Must-Join Facebook Groups in Spokane

Spokane has the BEST Facebook Groups!

spokane facebook groups

Facebook Groups are currently used by more than half of all Facebook users, according to Forbes, on at least a monthly basis, and it’s easy to see why. Groups are a great way to interact with like-minded people, no matter what you’re into. There are groups for buying and selling, dating, dog lovers, sports fans, hiking, biking, and triking. But while groups are growing in popularity, many people still aren’t taking advantage of Groups’ awesome power. Joining the right group is like winning the Golden Ticket to experience your city in a richer, more diverse and complete manner.

 

We’ve compiled a list of the 10 must-join groups in Spokane to get the most out of the Lilac City (in no specific order):

 

  1. Spokane Foodies4,492 members With an eclectic mix of restaurant photos, recommendations, recipes and humble brag photos, Spokane Foodies is a treasure trove for food lovers. It’s easy to fall into a rut of eating at the same restaurants, or cooking the same few key meals. But if you’re a part of Spokane Foodies, you’ll never run short of ideas for awesome new foods and drinks to try. Go ahead, take a bite!

 

  1. Spokane Speaks Freely About Spokane Stuff 12,460 members If you live, work, or play in Spokane, you’ll want to be a part of Spokane Speaks Freely. Members post a variety of content like local events, great places to eat, local hiking and camping information, and even a few “what the heck in this plant growing in my yard?!” photos. In other words, it’s a one-stop-shop for everything Spokane. 

 

  1. PNW Beer Lovers2,299 members The Pacific Northwest is known for its beauty, coffee, and perhaps most enjoyably, its beer! If local beer is your jam, you’ll find PWN Beer Lovers to be a valuable resource for discovering and discussing new microbrews. The group has a fun vibe and the beer related content comes in a variety of forms. Enjoy responsibly!

 

  1. Spokane CDA Singles3,000 members This is definitely not the group for those rockin’ a wedding band, but it’s a spunky, friendly place for singles in the Spokane and Coeur d’Alene areas. This group is a great alternative to dating apps like Tinder/Grindr/Bumble/Hinge and provides a more “real” look at the singles in the area, due to the highly social nature of Groups. Might as well give it a peek!

 

  1. I Love Spokane Because…5,946 members If you’re looking for the best Spokane has to offer, I Love Spokane Because probably has a photo or two of it posted already. This group has a decidedly positive spin and is heavy on photos, positive news, and events. It’s more than just a place to appreciate Spokane, it’s a place to learn about and discover the hidden corners of the Lilac City. 

 

  1. PNW Photography19,381 members True to its name, PNW Photography is a group to share photos of all the Pacific Northwest has to offer. From urban showcases to wild Oregon coastlines, you’ll find stunning photos representing the diversity of the PNW. This group is a great place to discover your next vacation weekend, whether you’re into hiking and camping or urban exploration.

 

  1. New Spokane Free Classifieds32,772 While there are many “buy/sell/trade” groups in Spokane, New Spokane Free Classifieds is the largest. You’ll find just about anything you’re looking for here, with the obvious exception of illegal or regulated items (like marijuana and adult entertainment). So before you drag that couch to Goodwill, consider selling it for $30 in New Spokane Free Classifieds! 

 

  1. Spokane & CDA Small Business & Events2,054 members If you own a business and want to network with other local business owners, Spokane & CDA Small Business & Events is the place to do it. Group posts range from B2B business promotions, sales pricing, and event notices. Small business owners are welcome to pop in, say hello, and share their goods. 

 

  1. Washington State Hiking, Trails, and the Great Outdoors6,460 members This group is dedicated to putting on some boots and hitting the trails throughout the great state of Washington. Members will find photos, videos, and blogs about different trails in the area, as well as questions and recommendations about the best trails. Whether you’re an experienced hiker or a complete novice, you’ll find invaluable information here.

 

  1. PNW Outdoor Women37,124 members Sorry gents, this one isn’t for you! Ladies, PNW Outdoor Women is a haven for everything outdoors with the unique perspective of other adventuring women. Traveling, camping, and hiking solo can present unique adventures and unique challenges, but roadblocks are nothing more than speed bumps when you have a network of women behind you, so join PWN Outdoor Women and join the tribe.

 

Want to Live Here?

If you’re looking at buying or selling a home in Spokane, we’d love to learn a little more about your move and help you find the perfect space. Whether you’re looking to upgrade, relocate, or downsize, we can help you find what you’re looking for. Contact the Real Estate Agent Spokane Team today to set up a custom search and learn more about Spokane’s diverse land and housing offerings.

Phone: (509) 774-4060

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The Top 5 Colleges in Spokane

Here are the best colleges in Spokane, in no specific order:

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At this new reduced price, this upgraded home won’t last long. Call to schedule a showing (509) 868-1077.

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5 Benefits to Getting Outdoors

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There are so many benefits to getting outdoors, connecting with nature, and leaving the computer behind. Here are 5 benefits to getting outside, and where to do it in Spokane. Follow us at facebook.com/realestateagentspokane for more awesome things to do in the Lilac City.

how to save for a down payment

8 Simple Steps to Saving Up Your Down Payment

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Saving is Hard. Here’s How to Make it Easier.

Buying a home is considered by many to be the single greatest financial investment that you can make, and the quickest way to amasse financial wealth. For years, Millennials lagged behind the averages for older generations in home ownership, when they were at the same age. This is due at least in part to bad luck – Millennials entered the job market with thousands in student loan debt, right as the country swung into the Great Recession. This poor timing left many Millennials earning less than Gen Xers and Boomers were at the same age, and carrying significantly more debt from wildly ballooning tuition prices.

But the failure to buy real estate also stems from lifestyle choices. Millennials are getting married later and having fewer children overall, which historically have been the two biggest reasons for buying a house. Today, the number one reason cited by Millennials for buying a house is to have a bigger space and a yard for their dog(s).

Thanks to a stable economy and continued job growth, the number of Millennials purchasing homes is on the rise. For a growing number of first-time homebuyers, regardless of age, the most daunting part of buying a house is the downpayment. In many cases, there is a lack of information about how down payments work, or a flat-out misunderstanding. It’s hard to save up for something you don’t even understand!

So, what is a down payment, and how much does it cost? A down payment is an amount that you pay towards the house, as collateral on the loan. This payment is usually represented as a percentage of the total purchase price of the home. Most people think they need to have 20% of the purchase price saved for the down payment, but in many cases, this is not correct.

In fact, down payments can range from 3.5% up to 20%. The reason that the 20% down payment number is repeated so frequently is that it is the amount you have to put down to avoid paying mortgage insurance (a small fee that is rolled into your monthly payment that protects the lender in the transaction). The type of loan you take out will play a big part in your down payment. For instance, an FHA loan may only ask for 3.5% down (but will require mortgage insurance), while a conventional loan might require 20% but not need mortgage insurance. Both FHA and conventional loans can range from 3.5% – 20% down payment requirements, and anything under 20% will require mortgage insurance, regardless of loan type. We strongly recommend that you consult with a mortgage broker to learn more about what to expect for your down payment.saving money

Try These 8 Simple Steps to Save Up Your Down Payment:

 

  1. MAKE A BUDGET: A realistic and thorough budget should be your first step whenever trying to save money. It’s difficult to save when you don’t know where your money is going in the first place! Free apps like Mint will connect to your accounts and give you a detailed look at where your money goes, and make it simple to set budgets.
  2. SET A REALISTIC SAVINGS GOAL: Once you understand your spending and create a budget to stay within your means and goals, you’ll be able to figure out how much money you can reasonable save on a weekly or monthly basis. Based on your budget, figure out where you can cut back on spending (like eating out three times a week instead of four, brewing your coffee at home, or cancelling that gym membership you haven’t used for the last 6 months – no judgement). Don’t plan on saving $500 a month when you can only consistently save $200. Creating unrealistic goals is a great way to fail. Slow and steady wins the race!
  3. GET PREQUALIFIED: Prequalification is crucial in the home buying process. Many mortgage brokers allow you to prequalify on their website, before you ever pick up the phone to call them. You fill out a short application to find out a.) if you qualify, and b.) for what amount. This way, you’ll have a better idea of what kind of loan you’ll be using and how much house you can afford. Once you know that, you’ll know how big of a down payment you should be expecting to make.
  4. LOOK INTO HIGH-YIELD SAVINGS ACCOUNTS: Once you establish a budget, determine a realistic savings goal each month, and find out how much you prequalify for, you’re going to want to get the most bang for your buck when you’re saving. High-yield savings accounts generally pay a higher rate of interest than a traditional savings account. Check your local Credit Unions, which typically offer a variety of options for savings. As an added benefit, when your savings is housed at a different bank than your main checking account, it’s harder to access and spend frivolously.
  5. LOOK INTO A CERTIFICATE OF DEPOSIT (CD) ACCOUNT: Certificates of Deposits, commonly called CDs, pay out higher interest rates in exchange for leaving the funds untouched for a period of time (typically six months to a year). This is a great option once you’ve saved up a chunk of money, and know you won’t need to access it for at least six months. If you’re hoping to buy a house in the next 3-6 months, stick to the high-yield savings. If you’re playing the long game and are saving for something 6 months to a year (or longer) from now, a CD might be a good choice.
  6. READ UP ON YOUR 401(K) AND IRA: If you’ve been contributing to a 401(k) savings plan, or if you have an IRA, you might be in luck. Many 401(k) plans allow you to withdraw funds for the purchase of a home without paying a penalty. Check with your 401(k) provider to find out the specifics of your plan and any potential penalties. If you are a first time home buyer, let your provider know – they may have different rules or waive penalties to aid first time home buyers. This is especially common with IRAs.
  7. RESEARCH DOWN PAYMENT ASSISTANCE PROGRAMS: Don’t overlook the potential benefit of down payment assistance programs. These programs are designed to help buyers overcome the hurdle of saving up a chunk of cash for their down payment. Most programs are geared toward first time home buyers, and typically have a maximum household income cap. These programs usually come in two forms: a grant that gifts the funds the to recipient, with no repayment ever; or as a deferred loan. There are a variety of programs available in Spokane with different requirements and assistance offerings.
  8. STICK TO THE PLAN: However you choose to save your money, make a plan and stick with it! Slow but consistent saving will beat out erratic and unsustainable savings plans every time. Don’t lose sight of the goal; you’ll be scheduling movers before you know it!

Buying Your First Home in Spokane

spokane realtorBuying your first home is exciting and a bit intimidating! That’s why we specialize in helping first time home buyers find and fund their dream house in Spokane. We understand that buying a home is more than a big transaction – it’s a huge milestone, too. To guide our clients through the process, we focus on education and support; we want you to feel empowered to make a great decision.

Carrie Meyer, leader and head Realtor of the Real Estate Agent Spokane Team, is registered with the Washington Association of Realtors, the Spokane Association of Realtors (SAR), and has been a certified Paralegal for over 30 years. She is an expert at writing, negotiating, and explaining real estate contracts. Contact Carrie today at (509) 868-1077 to start searching for your home in Spokane!