Then & Now galleries

Slideshows that compare historical photos with modern images.

Inland Empire Highway

Before 1910, automobiles were rare but adventurous drivers already were looking for ways to cross Washington state. Except for train travel, heading east from Seattle was a perilous journey.

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The Ziegler Building

Louis Ziegler faced many fiery trials. He arrived in the United States from Germany in 1852 at age 15 and became a wagon maker in Kentucky. He opened his own wagon shop in Chenoa, Illinois, in 1863 and did well until a massive fire claimed his buildings in 1870.

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McGoldrick Lumber

James P. McGoldrick, born in 1859, started in the timber business in Minnesota. Seeing that most of the lumber he sold came from the Northwest, he moved to Spokane in 1906 and bought a mill south of Gonzaga College, east of downtown Spokane.

The McGoldrick Lumber Co. eventually covered 60 acres along the Spokane River. Logs were stored on the Spokane River and milled lumber was dried in piles outdoors. The company added timber holdings around the region and the mill became one of Spokane’s largest employers.

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The Cowen Building

A seafaring Swedish immigrant named Carl Fogelquist arrived in 1908 and put his name on quality men’s fashion in Spokane.
He had served in the Swedish merchant marine before coming to the United States in 1888. He started a store in Iowa then moved to the Northwest.
Selling clothes was simpler in the early days.

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Temporary City Hall

The planners of a new Union Depot in downtown Spokane needed a favor in 1909. Can we buy City Hall? The depot would be a few hundred yards away and the tracks would run right through the 15-year-old building, resplendent with turrets and arched windows.

The city agreed after much negotiation, using the railroad money to pay off the old building. The old one was nice, but the new one would be even grander. The sale contract said demolition would begin in May 1913 or penalties would be paid.

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The Hyde Building

Eugene B. Hyde arrived in the frontier town of Spokane Falls in 1881 and jumped into the real estate business. He built a three-story brick building at Riverside and Mill, now called Wall Street, while his brothers Samuel and Rollins were building their own projects nearby.

But Hyde is best remembered as Spokane’s first policeman. Mayor Robert W. Forrest appointed the 32-year-old Hyde as city marshal in 1881. He was later elected to the position and served until 1885. He carried a .44-caliber double-action revolver and was quick with it, by all accounts.

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Radio Central Building

George Heidinger founded Eilers Music House in 1900, an era when pianos, sheet music and the Victrola were a booming business. Eilers moved to a seven-story building on the southeast corner of Sprague Avenue and Post Street in 1911.

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Bennett Block

Bascomb H. Bennett, born 1859, ran the Arlington hotel at Howard and Main. He would become the son-in-law and partner of pioneer businessman A.M. Cannon and his Bank of Spokane Falls. In 1882, Bennett was involved in one of the most infamous confrontations in Spokane newspaper history.

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Mearow Building

Before the Mearow building became a longtime furniture store, the Richmond Hotel was in the upper floors and the storefront was the first home of Matthews and Kerr, a retail tea, coffee and spice business on the ground floor at 230 W. Sprague. The company was known for its black and orange delivery wagons stenciled with “M&K Coffee.”

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Motor Bus Depot

In the 1920s, the gasoline-powered bus was showing itself to be a more flexible mode of public transit than the streetcar or train. Three old buildings along Front St., between Howard and Wall St., were turned into a bus depot in 1924 by the Auto Interurban Co. and the Spokane-Lewiston Stage Line.

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Great Northern Rail Yard

In the 1880s, Spokane was becoming the premier rail hub of the west and rail tycoon James J. Hill wanted it on his Great Northern main line to the coast. The first GN train rolled into to Spokane in May of 1892, starting a long association between the company and Spokane.

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1939 “Send Bailey a Hat” campaign

The Spokane Athletic Round Table, a club of sports boosters started in 1920, began using proceeds from slot machines for youth and college sports programs. Members met over whiskey and cigars weekly at their own club for most of 36 years. Joseph Aloysius Albi, a fast-talking trial attorney who always had a joke up his sleeve, led the group from 1920 until 1962. Through the years he conspired with other “knights” of the Athletic Round Table, like Ray “Doc” Mauro of Gonzaga, to pull zany pranks, poke fun and raise funds to help underprivileged kids.

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Sportsmen’s and Tourists’ Fair

Today’s business and tourism promoters talk about whitewater parks, “Near Nature, Near Perfect” and Spokane’s occasional appearances in top-10 lists. Such promotions are not new. In 1920, as the frantic growth of the former frontier settlement began to slow, the Chamber of Commerce came up with a fair promoting the city’s proximity to fishing and hunting:

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Spokane Intermodel Center

Many things attracted newcomers to the tiny settlement of Spokane in the 1870s. There was plentiful land, water and timber. But the railroad fueled most of the optimism. The first transcontinental was completed in 1869 with the driving of a golden spike at Promontory, Utah. But the Northern Pacific was engaged in a brash, all-out push to complete a new route across the upper states and through Spokane.

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Spokane street cars

Horses pulled the first Spokane streetcars, then steam engines and cables buried in the road propelled the cars. WIthin a few years of the streetcars’ debut, all were powered by electricity.

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