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Jim Kershner’s this day in history


From our archives, 100 years ago

The Spokesman-Review ran a feature on a company responsible for building a great deal of Spokane: The Washington Brick, Lime and Sewer Pipe Co.

The company operated 17 kilns in Clayton, which produced 60,000 bricks a day, along with 400 tons of terra cotta. Another plant, in Freeman, produced 120,000 bricks per day. A third plant, at Dishman, produced sewer pipe. A fourth plant, at Pend Oreille, produced lime.

The entire endeavor employed 375 people. Some of them were artists, creating original terra cotta designs.

The brick kilns routinely reached 3,300 degrees Fahrenheit, and a reporter estimated “the heat generated there in one day would amount to a spring thaw if it could be saved and distributed.”

The company began in 1886 at a clay pit on the South Hill. That pit is now the beautiful pond at Cannon Hill Park. The company soon exhausted that source of clay and moved to the outskirts.

A century later, the products of the company’s kilns are easy to find. The company supplied the bricks and much of the fine terra cotta work for the Davenport Hotel. Also, it supplied the bricks for both Lewis and Clark High School and North Central High School. It also supplied bricks for many downtown buildings including the Paulsen Building and Hutton Building.

In Seattle, you’ll see the company’s bricks at the Moore Theatre; in Pullman, you’ll see them at Washington State University.

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