New Year’s Eve in Spokane was a little more festive after the Davenport Hotel opened in September 1914. It was the culmination of many years of planning by restaurateur Louis Davenport.
Advertisements for the new hotel offered a full holiday dinner for $2 a plate on New Year’s Eve, and there would be dancing to the Davenport orchestra with vocalist Gladys Vogel. The Pantages Theater and others offered vaudeville performances, and ballrooms offered dancing till midnight.
People gather around Davenport’s Restaurant, hoping for a glimpse of the visiting celebrity during President Taft’s visit to Spokane Sept. 28, 1909. The Davenport hotel was not yet built. Picture looks west on Sprague.
Long before the war on drugs, there was Prohibition, starting in 1920. Depending on who’s telling the story, serving liquor in Spokane was either ubiquitous and hardly questioned, or the law was enforced with a vengeance.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.”
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.
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.
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.