The Densow family was influential in business around the Inland Northwest for much of the 20th century.
Louis Densow, born in 1880, came west from Wisconsin in 1902 and ran a Ford dealership and other businesses in Wilbur and Pullman. He retired to Spokane in 1932. His son Bert, a pharmacist who trained at Washington State College and who started work in Wilbur in 1920, bought the venerable Joyner’s Drug Store in the Rookery Block in downtown Spokane in 1944.
Bert Densow also bought into drug stores in Wallace and Kellogg with his brother George, and added stores around Spokane and one in Richland, which is still in operation.
Bert’s brother Stanley, who loved to tinker with radios as a kid in Wilbur, eventually opened Densow’s Appliance Stores around 1931. It was based in Hillyard with several branches around Spokane.
Bert served on the state pharmacy board, was president of the Spokane Chamber of Commerce and led fundraising for the Community Welfare Federation, more commonly called the Community Chest. Bert complained of a headache before collapsing at his home and dying from a stroke in 1952. He was 45.
Oscar Reiman, a veteran druggist from Kellogg and longtime friend of the Densows, purchased the downtown store at Howard and Riverside. Reiman retired in 1963 and closed the store, which had opened in 1908. George Densow died in 1969 and Stanley in 1983.
– Jesse Tinsley
Dec. 13, 1963: Shoppers crowd Howard Street and Riverside Avenue, where Densow’s Drug Store had announced it was closing after 55 years.
Present day: The southeast corner of Howard and Riverside has been a parking lot since the Rookery Block was torn down in 2005.