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Then and Now

Former Sears building: Spokane Public Library

Sears, Roebuck & Co. opened a new store in Spokane at 906 W. Main in 1930. Sears invested $750,000 in the building site and stock. The building had three stories and a full basement and was equipped with the lastest combined heating and ventilating system. In September 1961, Sears sold the building to the Comstock Foundation which converted it into the main Spokane Public Library. The building was demolished in 1992 to make way for a new library.


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Image One Photo Archive The Spokesman-Review Image Two Jesse Tinsley The Spokesman-Review

Their first libraries in Spokane, in 1880 and 1883, required paid memberships. Both failed. A 1891 effort struggled, too, but eventually the city took it over and housed it in City Hall. Philanthropist Andrew Carnegie funded a dedicated building in 1904. That building was used through a depression and two world wars.
When the Sears and Roebuck store at Main and Lincoln opened in 1930, it carried all the wonders of 20th century living in the form of modern appliances, hardware and auto accessories. But by the early 1960s, Sears had cleared out and sold the building to the city of Spokane, which dubbed it the Comstock Building. In 1964 it became the home of the Spokane Public Library and remained so for almost another 30 years. After a 1990 library bond vote, The Comstock building came down in 1992 and the new library opened in 1994. The newer library offers a panoramic view of the Spokane River and the falls, a climate-controlled special collections room and internet access.


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