November 7, 1996 in Washington Voices

Township Building Will Be Preserved As Historic Landmark

By The Spokesman-Review
 

Valley residents have always considered the Opportunity township hall a landmark. Now, it’s official.

County commissioners on Tuesday agreed to add the 1912 Spanish colonial building to the Spokane Register of Historic Places.

The stucco building at 12114 E. Sprague and the Courthouse downtown are the only county-owned buildings on the list. The designation means the county agrees to keep the building in close to original condition.

“It’s in pretty good condition, despite a number of changes over time,” said Teresa Brum of the city-county Historic Preservation Office.

Opportunity was a community developed by Modern Irrigation and Land Co. in 1905. The company held a contest to choose a name, and Laura Kelsey won the $10 prize.

Opportunity residents formed a township in 1908. Four years later, they built the hall near the intersection of Pines Road and Sprague Avenue, which became the hub of activity for people who lived on the Valley’s orchards and melon farms.

The township hall was home to the Valley’s first public library, Brum said. People went there for bingo games, dances and weddings, and to watch silent movies.

In recent years, it has been used for dance classes, grange meetings and similar activities. It has a meeting room, small kitchen and restrooms.

Townships were dissolved by the state Legislature in 1972, and the building became county property. It is part of a row of buildings that includes a hardware store, bicycle shop, Army surplus store and adult book store.

On Tuesday, commissioners gave control of the building to the county Parks and Recreation Department.

, DataTimes

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