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1914 technology: ice, electricity, telephones, porcelain tubs

When the Davenport Hotel opened on Aug. 30, 1914, a 10-page section of The Spokesman-Review trumpeted the new building’s marvels. Headlines and opening paragraphs included these:

“Hotel to make its ice. Complete and unique refrigerator system … Five tons of ice a day.” “The Davenport hotel ice-making, water-cooling and refrigerating plant demonstrates one of the most complete and unique systems of its kind in the hotel service of the United States.”

“All bath tubs of porcelain.” “The 265 bath tubs, of porcelain and weighing 1,300 pounds each, with fixtures of special design, as well as the vitreous lavatories or wash bowls and all fittings, valves and pipe used in connection with the heating and plumbing of the new Davenport hotel, were furnished by the local branch of the Crane company. All this material, according to the manager of the company, is of the best obtainable.”

“Through rock to water. Drilling of well 662 feet deep a hard battle.” “Sunk to a depth of 662 feet, the greater portion of which was through basaltic rock, the hotel well in the new Davenport, in addition to being the deepest well in the Northwest, also represents the most remarkable feat of boring in the western country. … At the 662-foot level the subterranean stream known to run beneath this city was struck and a supply of 400 gallons of water per minute secured.”

“Electricity has important part. ‘Ghost current’ is used for various purposes in the Davenport Hotel.” “The part played by electricity in the Davenport Hotel makes an interesting study. … There is not a minute from the time the guest enters this magnificent hostelry until he leaves that he is not being served by the ‘ghost current.’ On hot summer days one entering the lobby is conscious of a most gratifying coolness – the electrically driven fan in the subbasement forcing washed and cooled air into the room.”

“New hotel has 450 telephones. Miles of cable and wire used to make this feature without any rival. Main 6000 is the call.” “The telephone system in the new Davenport hotel is thoroughly in keeping with all other equipment to be found in this beautiful and serviceable structure – the most modern obtainable.”

“Investors show faith in Spokane. Local money in venture. Names speak for themselves of confidence in the future of city and country.” Investors on the list included Thomas H. Brewer, president of Fidelity National bank; W. H. Cowles, publisher of The Spokesman-Review; Centennial Mill company; George R. Dodson, jeweler; John A. Finch, capitalist; John W. Graham & Co.; Holley-Mason Hardware company, and L.M. Davenport, proprietor of the Davenport restaurant.

“To the traveler in the Inland Empire.” In a full-page advertisement, the hotel announces that “while the house ranks with the most noted in this country, the rates decided upon are moderate and within the reach of persons of modest means. We offer forty rooms at $1.50; forty rooms with shower baths at $2.00; sixty-nine rooms with private baths at $2.50; seventy rooms with private baths at $3.00. Other large rooms and suites from $3.50 up.”

 

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