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Then and Now: Monroe Street

Changes reflect a century-plus of development

The year 1891 was monumental for the town of Spokane Falls, which voted to change its name to Spokane – perhaps to sound more sophisticated and less rustic. Electricity was flowing from a new dam on the river, thanks to Washington Water Power, and by the end of the year the horse-drawn street cars were replaced with electric models. The U.S. Congress created the Coeur d’Alene Reservation with a new treaty. The Spokane Derby horse race was held for the first time on the track that is now Corbin Park. The Spokane Public Library was founded, the Old National Bank was chartered and the Salvation Army set up a mission. A new steel bridge carried Monroe Street across the river. The 165-foot Review Tower – the distinctive cupola can be seen on the far left in the photos – had just been completed. The Review’s newspaper competitor, the Spokesman, had just recruited a young reporter named W.H. Cowles from Chicago to help run the operation. After a few years of furious competition, the two newspapers were combined, and Cowles later became the publisher. – Jesse Tinsley

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