For a peek into banking history, look up at the sleek tower on the southwest corner of Howard and Riverside. Shortly after the disastrous 1889 fire, a stately new five story building was built there for the Traders National Bank. In 1914, the bank merged with Spokane and Eastern Trust Co. Joel E. Ferris, an influential figure in Spokane for more than 50 years, became the bank’s president in 1931, the same year that the old bank was razed for a new seven-story Art Deco building, which The Spokesman-Review called “one of the most distinctive buildings in the Northwest.” During the depths of the Great Depression, the bank had merged with Seattle-First National, eventually renamed Seafirst, but retained its name in Spokane. The modern 20-story Seafirst Financial Center was built on the site in 1980 and the name changed to Bank of America Financial Center in 2000 following a 1998 merger.
- Jesse Tinsley