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South Perry Blog

Posts tagged: History

Dodd home added to National Historic Register

The 1913 Sonora Smart Dodd House has been added to the National Register of Historic Places and the dedication is set for Friday Oct. 15 at 10 a.m.
The Dodd House is located just off Perry Street at 603 S. Arthur and it has been carefully restored by its owners Jerry and Bev Numbers. Dodd was the founder of Father’s Day 100 years ago and this summer there were several celebrations in her honor around town. Read more about Dodd here.
The last Spokane buildings to receive this designation were the Looff Carrousel in 1977, and the Hutton Building (9 South Washington Street) in 1983.
For more information call the historic preservation office at (509) 625-6543.

Calling all South Perry history buffs

I stopped by Liberty Park United Methodist Church on Sunday. After the service, I visited with a group of parishioners some of whom have lived in the South Perry neighborhood for 70 years or longer. Among them was Frank Tobie who gave me two volumes of church history beginning back in 1905. The history has been compiled by many different people – among them Helen Mitchell and Reverend William S. Turner, one of the founders of the church. Last night, I paged through the history of neighborhood families and looked at 50-year-old pictures of homes I recognize from down the street.

One June 6, 1910, T.W. Mortimer got permission to hook the house I now live in up to the city water main. People tell me my sturdy, no frills foursquare probably is a mail order house from Sears or Montgomery Ward. In 1961, someone added a fallout shelter in the backyard, the top of which is now my patio. There’s just something about old houses: yes, they tend to be money pits (mine sure is) but they also feel comfortable and, well, lived in, just like an older neighborhood does.

What I really enjoyed about my Sunday visit was all the neighborhood stories about the ice cream parlor and the meat market, the grocery shops and the library. I would love to hear more stories like that – don’t be shy – tell me about ‘once upon a time on South Perry Street.’

Someone shot the water heater

When Mark Camp rented the building that’s now The Shop, back in 1994, his landlord carefully pointed out that the water heater had been shot three times. “It was pretty crazy. He showed me where the bullets had gone in through the frontdoor, hit the water heater, and out back,” Camp said. “And then he said he’d get me a new one.” Camp was doing metal work in the shop - a retired garage - and plans of opening a coffee house were somewhat off in the future. “There were other businesses here, like The Black Forest Deli and there was the DC Hip-Hop store, a record store,” said Camp. “But it was a rough neighborhood.” A friend on the SWAT team flat out told Camp that he shouldn’t go into the neighborhood at night. “There was a murder in Grant Park, but I really didn’t think much of it,” Camp said. “I’d moved here from the worst part of Minneapolis.” Five years later, on March 22, Camp opened The Shop together with two friends and the little coffee house soon became the hub of the neighborhood. Almost at the same time, the City of Spokane began looking at improving the street with lights and trees - South Perry became a pilot project of sorts in the city’s Centers and Corridors Growth Management plan. Camp went from business to business trying to start a business association. “Some people said it was a waste of time, that no one from outside the neighborhood would ever come here,” said Camp, who later sold The Shop business but still owns the building and the Altamont Pharmacy building. Camp said Mel Silva, who owned an antique store just up the street, was a great supporter of the neighborhood in those days. “He was all gung-ho about it, he helped out a ton and so did lots of other people.” Camp, who still lives in the neighborhood, loves how things are turning out these days. “Everything we did with The Shop, and later The Scoop, and the live music and the outdoor movies, was to bring people here,” said Camp, whose next project is a beer-centric saloon on East Sprague. “We wanted to get people to come from the outside of the neighborhood.” And today they do.

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About this blog

Welcome to the South Perry neighborhood blog. My name is Pia Hallenberg and I’ve worked as a journalist in Spokane since the fall of 1998; for the last four years I’ve lived on South Perry Street.

I love the neighborhood so when time came to pick an area for The Spokesman-Review’s first neighborhood blog, the choice was simple: South Perry is where it’s at.

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Pia Hallenberg Pia Hallenberg covers local and neighborhood news in north and south Spokane for the Voices section.

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