In 1932 the city of Spokane finished paving Division Street north to Francis. Because it was the northern end of the city limits at the time, Spokane County surveyed and paved north from there.
But when the county’s crew attempted to link up its section of roadway, it found the two, 20-foot-wide concrete strips of pavement were a good 12 inches below the grade of Francis. County engineer Allan R. Scott sheepishly admitted that his surveyors hadn’t looked at city plans before plotting the grade of the county section.
Scott, who was born in 1873 to parents who emigrated from Scotland, moved to Colfax at age 9. He attended the State College at Pullman and worked as a surveyor and mining engineer. After service in the Spanish-American War, he was elected Spokane County engineer in 1900 and 1908. In addition to engineering, he was elected county commissioner in 1910, served as CEO of Spokane Concrete Co. and was on the board of Bolo Investment Company.
In 1931, Scott cut his department’s budget during the Great Depression, as all were asked to do. And to solve the problem at Division and Francis, a conference of city, county and state engineers offered a solution: Grade Francis down to match the new paving before reopening the intersection.
For more than 50 years, Scott and his wife, Luella Davey, were well-known in Spokane society circles and Republican politics. Historian Nelson Wayne Durham wrote of Scott: “His activity and energy were unremitting; in all his business connections, he has proven his worth in the substantial and gratifying results which have followed.” Scott died in 1954.
– Jesse Tinsley
Oct. 3, 1932: Light traffic makes its way in both directions on North Division Street.
Present day: Cars head south on Division near NorthTown Mall on July 18.
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