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Sunday, July 21, 2019  Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883
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Then and Now: Velox Naval Supply Depot

World War II brought a rush of wartime spending on personnel and material to Spokane and the rest of the region.

Spurred by Chamber of Commerce fundraising toward the effort, Spokane was approved for an Army Air Corps maintenance depot in 1941.

In early 1942, the U.S. Navy announced a training station on the shores of Lake Pend Oreille in North Idaho. By 1943, Farragut Naval Training Station was populated by more than 40,000 Navy personnel and civilian employees.

And the U.S. Navy built the Velox Naval Supply Depot, named after a nearby train stop, near Sullivan Road and Trent Avenue. With many men away at war, women filled many of the 2,700 jobs at the Velox Naval Depot.

The name Velox came from Arthur Glendinning, a railroad clerk in charge of naming rail stops through the region. Knowing the need for a short, but unique, name for each stop, he chose the name of a famous racehorse, Harry Velox, that ran in Salt Lake City in the 1890s.

Opened in 1942, it took a few years to get the large warehouses completed. Six warehouses, the largest covering 3 acres, were completed by February 1945.

With the end of the war, the depot laid off many workers in April 1946. Activity continued to slow until the war in Korea prompted expansion a few years later.

The Velox Naval Depot was closed in 1958 and put up for sale. After competing bids and protests, Spokane Industrial Park Inc., a consortium of Spokane and Seattle business partners, paid more than $2.5 million for the 530-acre property and took control in early 1960.

The park quickly filled up with tenants making wood posts, fiberglass boats, electronic devices and many other products. Washington Water Power, now called Avista, invested heavily in the company in the early 1960s and eventually owned the park outright. WWP sold the property, now called Spokane Business and Industrial Park, to Crown West Realty in 1996. Crown West recently announced a new distribution and logistics center, with four or five buildings totaling 500,000 square feet of industrial space to be completed by the end of 2019.

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