Spokane (/ˌspoʊˈkæn/ (listen) spoh-KAN) is a city in the state of Washington in the northwestern United States. It is located on the Spokane River west of the Rocky Mountain foothills in eastern Washington, 92 miles (148 km) south of the Canada–US border, 18 miles (30 km) from the Washington–Idaho border, and 228 miles (367 km) east of Seattle along Interstate 90.
Known as the birthplace of Father's Day, Spokane's official nickname is the "Lilac City". A pink, double flower lilac variety known as 'Syringa Spokane' is named for the city. It is the seat of Spokane County and the economic and cultural center of the Spokane Metropolitan Area, the Spokane–Coeur d'Alene combined statistical area, and the Inland Northwest. The city, along with the whole Inland Northwest, is 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.
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 with the name of Spokane Falls (it was reincorporated 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 also features Riverfront and Manito parks, the Smithsonian-affiliated Northwest Museum of Arts and Culture, the Davenport Hotel, and the Fox and Bing Crosby theaters.
The Cathedral of Our Lady of Lourdes is the seat of the Roman Catholic Diocese of Spokane, and the city is also the center of the Mormon Spokane Washington Temple District. The Cathedral of St. John the Evangelist represents the Anglican community. Gonzaga University was established in 1887 by the Jesuits, and the private Presbyterian Whitworth University was founded three years later and moved to north Spokane in 1914
In sports, the Gonzaga Bulldogs collegiate basketball team competes at the Division I level. Professional and semi-professional sports teams include the Spokane Indians in Minor League Baseball and Spokane Chiefs in junior ice hockey. As of 2010, Spokane's only major daily newspaper, The Spokesman-Review, had a daily circulation of over 76,000.
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