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Then & Now galleries

Slideshows that compare historical photos with modern images.


Gonzaga University Campus

This picture of Gonzaga University campus was taken in 1949, just three years after GU completed its first female dormitory. The university became co-ed in 1948. Conspicuous in the photo is the football stadium, which is no longer part of the Spokane campus.

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Riverfront Park

Although explorers, traders and missionaries had traveled on horseback through the area since the early 1800s, the first white settlement at Spokane Falls was in 1871. James Glover built a store beside the falls in what is now Riverfront Park, selling food and goods to the soldiers who were fighting wars against the Nez Perce and other Indian nations.

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City Hall

The City Hall erected in 1893 where Howard St. and Front St. (now Spokane Falls Blvd.) meet symbolized the optimism of a plains boomtown, and then fell victim to Spokane’s success.

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Spokane Middle Falls

For centuries the falls of Spokane attracted Indians for salmon fishing in May and June. When white settlers began gathering around the falls, creating a settlement at what is now Howard St. and Spokane Falls Blvd., it was for the power of the water, pushing wheels to mill wheat and saw lumber.

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West Riverside Avenue

World War II in Spokane-In the days following the attack on Pearl Harbor, Spokane began preparing for the next major attack. Spokane radio stations went off the air so enemy aircraft couldn’t follow their signals into urban areas. Tall buildings covered their windows for nighttime blackouts that were never enforced.

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Monroe Street 1891

1891 was a banner year for the town of Spokane Falls. Spokane Falls voted to change its name to just “Spokane,” perhaps to sound more sophisticated and less rustic.

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The City Market

The 25,000 square foot market held up to 24 different stores and busy shoppers trekked to town on horseback, in buggies and on foot to buy mutton and fish from John Lewis, freshly dressed turkeys and chickens from Welch’s Market, hot bread from Lane’s Table Exchange and coffee from James Johnston, “The Coffee Man”.

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Symons Block

Businessman Thomas Symons built the dignified four-story Symons Block in 1918. A few years later, it played a pivotal role in Spokane radio broadcasting. Radio set owners could only scan the desolate airwaves for faint signals from far away cities.

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Great Western Building

The Spokane Empire State Building, later known as the Great Western Building was built in 1900, is located at the corner of Riverside and Lincoln. It was named after a New Yorker named Charles Sweeney. It was advertised as Spokane’s first fireproof building. The National Register of Historic Places added this building to it’s list of protected historical properties in the 1980’s.

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American Legion Building

It’s been called the Metals Building, the Assemblee Building and the American Legion Building. Wealthy Spokane industrialist F. Lewis Clark built the elegant Renaissance Revival five-story building at Riverside and Washington in 1900 to house the Spokane Club and other businesses. Clark

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Calvary Baptist Church

The dusty town of Spokane Falls, Washington Territory was booming with railroads, timber and mining in the late 19th century and black settlers came looking for new opportunities and a place to call their own. One settler, Rev. Peter Barrow, who was born a slave in 1840, helped found Calvary Baptist Church in 1890.

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Jamieson Building

Edward Herbert Jamieson was a Spokane businessman who survived the massive fire of 1889. He commissioned Herman Preusse, a German architect who had designed the massive Auditorium Theatre, to design the Jamieson building.

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Panoramic view of Spokane

In 1966 Spokane was a bustling business center. Aluminum, timber products, chemicals, mining, banking, insurance, trucking, railroads and agriculture dominated. Spokane International Airport had just opened to rave reviews.

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Street cars in Spokane

The street car parade of 1936 marked the end of an era and showed that Spokane held their lumbering street cars in great affection even as the public bus, more versatile and efficient, took over the role of people mover in urban Spokane.

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Interstate 90

Interstate 90, with limited on and off ramps and higher speed limits, shaved time from long trips, but travelers now speed past towns that once were important wayside stops for motorists.

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