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Francis H. Cook: Publisher and Prophet of Pronunciation

Francis H. Cook


Francis Cook came to Spokane from Ohio, by way of Olympia and Tacoma, where he worked for and started newspapers.

He began publishing the Spokan Times on May 8, 1879.

The family legend holds that Cook was once playing poker with William H. Cowles, the publisher of The Spokesman-Review. The two newspapermen started to argue about the spelling of the word “Spokane.”

Cook thought that if people spelled the name of the city with an “e” on the end, outsiders would mispronounce it. The argument soon escalated into a fistfight and ended with Cook’s wife hitting Cowles in the head with a frying pan.

Although largely unknown in Spokane history, Cook’s legacy helped shape the city to what it is today.


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