Looking for something to do. Simply Google “ (the name of your city or city you are visiting) historic sites.” If your town is like Spokane, WA (and of a similar size) you will get a list of at least a dozen significant sites and a slew of secondary sites. I did this with Spokane and was given a list that included:
- The Davenport Hotel—Built in 1914, this now refurbished hotel has an abundance of elaborate, opulent interior design taken from several different countries.
- Historic Cemeteries—A review of a book that describes more than 60 Spokane cemeteries and their most intriguing residents.
- Browne’s Addition Historic District—A historic neighborhood where the wealthy mine owners built elaborate Victorian mansions where one in particular, the Campbell House, has been magnificently preserved (and/or restored).
- North Spokane Farm Museum—A display of historic tractor and other farm implements from the 1930s.
- Northwest Museum of Arts and Culture—A complex that focuses on rotating exhibits that feature American Indians, local history, and visual arts.
- Dozens of other historic sites that included a museum where Elvis Presley’s 1973 Lincoln Mark IV is displayed, a historic although operating winery (unclear if the historic building or the present-day wine that is the emphasis, but either way, it sounds great), and a science center for kids (or grandkids). Also on the list (as of a year ago) Bing Crosby’s childhood home.
This last discovery was made only after a friend mentioned he had recently visited this historic museum and found it to be fascinating. That was enough for my wife and I to drive the 10 blocks or so to this site to find the house we had gone by a dozen times without realizing it was Bing Crosby’s boyhood home. Just for fun and because Bing is so well know to most geezers, I’ll tell you a bit about the experience.
The house is a small, two-story craftsman, which today sits on the edge of the Gonzaga University (yes, the school with the top ten basketball team). Inside the house is a very intriguing collection of artifacts from Bing Crosby’s life. The museum tells both the story of his early years when being brought up in Spokane as well as his later life as a singer and actor.
Some of the things on display include:
- A 78 speed, vinyl record—White Christmas—on an antique phonograph.
- Dozen of awards that Bing received including an Oscar (replica) for the movie Going My Way.
- A page from a script from a skit he did with Bob Hope.
- Memorabilia from his Pebble Beach golf tournaments,
- A large set of 45 speed (remember those?) gold records (Bing had more hit records than anyone, including Elvis and the Beetles).
- A Newsweek Magazine with Bing on the Cover (January 28, 1947).
Going to an exhibit such as this, brings back a wash of memories. Whether it’s the watching of an On the Road movie that starred Bing with Bob Hope on black and white television or remembering that the best song of Christmas was (and always will be) White Christmas. Bing was a part of an era that was so much simpler and innocent than today—an incredible time that geezers were a part of. Remembering it is a joy.
The older we get, the more important our past becomes. One way to truly enjoy it is to go out and find it. Every town has a heritage and if you look, you’ll find someone is trying to preserve it for you to enjoy.