Jenkins Building

Col. David P. Jenkins was one of Spokane’s greatest benefactors. Before homesteading Spokane’s north side of the river, Jenkins, born 1823, was a lawyer from Ohio, an acquaintance of Abraham Lincoln and a Civil War hero. After the war, he practiced law in Seattle for several years. When he heard about the impending connection of the Northern Pacific railroad to Spokane, he moved here around 1880, homesteading 157 acres on the north side of the Spokane River bounded by Howard St., Cedar St. and Mallon Ave.

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

Col. David P. Jenkins was one of Spokane’s greatest benefactors. Before homesteading Spokane’s north side of the river, Jenkins, born 1823, was a lawyer from Ohio, an acquaintance of Abraham Lincoln and a Civil War hero. After the war, he practiced law in Seattle for several years. When he heard about the impending connection of the Northern Pacific railroad to Spokane, he moved here around 1880, homesteading 157 acres on the north side of the Spokane River bounded by Howard St., Cedar St. and Mallon Ave. There were no bridges then, so he kept a boat tied up at the foot of the falls. He built the first college in Spokane in the area that is now Kendall Yards. Jenkins signed the Spokane city charter in 1891. When Spokane College went under in the panic of 1893, he took it back and operated it. He donated a full city block for the Spokane County Courthouse, built in 1895. He was a friend of Chief Spokane Garry and Chief Joseph the Younger. He donated the land for the Plymouth Congregational Church. Jenkins helped establish the Humane Society and donated the land for it. In 1907, he created a vocational school, Jenkins Institute, at the YMCA and endowed with $50,000. It lasted through World War I. Col. Jenkins also had a farm in Chewelah, where he donated the money and land for the first high school there in 1910. His daughter, Emma Rue, later donated the land for Spokane Coliseum, which is now the Spokane Veterans Memorial Arena. Jenkins died in 1915.


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