Arrow-right Camera


Then and Now photos: Paulsen Building

1911 edifice was once tallest in Spokane

Cliff Drive was a popular spot for photographers to document the growth of early Spokane. Prominent in the center of the 1908 picture is the August Paulsen Building, the tallest in town when it was completed in 1911. Paulsen was a Danish immigrant who arrived in Spokane in 1892. He worked for dairies before scraping together $850 to buy a quarter stake in the Hercules Mine in the Coeur d’Alene Mining District. After some discouraging years of digging, rich lead and silver ore was found in 1901. The mine partners became wealthy and poured millions of dollars into Spokane. Paulsen built his eponymous building and was known for his philanthropic work. His wife, Myrtle White Paulsen, completed the 15-story Paulsen Medical and Dental Building because August died in 1927 from silicosis, a miner’s lung disease. The buildings’ deed allowed their daughter-in-law, Helen Paulsen, to live in the luxurious penthouse until her death in 2007, even though the buildings have changed hands over the years. – Jesse Tinsley

Top stories in Spokane

Before the falls: Spokane and the history of river cities

The falls are beautiful, they’re powerful and they’re the reason for the city. Spokane is one of a small number of American cities that have falling water in their hearts, and it’s no accident. The reasons for a city are many, but chief among them is water – for drinking, for transportation, for industry and, most recently, for beauty.