The 1908 photo shows the Granite Block at far left, next to the newly completed August Paulsen building.
Paulsen, a Danish immigrant, arrived in Spokane in 1892. He immediately began dairy farming to raise money to invest in a mine. He bought a 25 percent share in the Hercules Mine for $850, and a rich ore body was found in 1901.
Other investors included Harry, Eugene and Jerome Day, Charles H. Reeves (Dad Reeves), Levi W. Hutton, Frank Rothrock, Damien Cardoner and the Markwells.
According to company records, the mine was soon producing 6 percent of the nation’s lead and plenty of silver ore. Paulsen, who had labored for years in his mine, took his newfound riches to Spokane and began building. After finishing the 11-story Paulsen building and filling it with tenants, he began planning something even bigger: a 17-story skyscraper with a penthouse apartment for his family.
But Paulsen died March 12, 1927, during an asthma attack. And his family and partners razed the Granite and followed his plan. The top floor of the new tower was reserved as the Paulsen family home even though the building changed hands after it was built.
Helen Paulsen, August’s daughter-in-law, lived there until dying in 2009. The penthouse is now office space with a spectacular view.
– Jesse Tinsley
1908: This photograph looks west from North Washington Street, showing an impressive canyon of tall buildings, including the newly completed August Paulsen building, second from left.
Present day: Many buildings have changed since a similarly situated 1908 photo looking west down Riverside Avenue in Spokane. Arriving after 1908 were the Paulsen Medical and Dental Building, the Bank of America Center and the Old National Bank, among others.