Then and Now

Kroll Building

William H. Kroll was already a successful lumberman in Michigan and well into his 60s when he came west in 1911 and stopped in St. Maries, Idaho. In 1921, he bought the Merriam Block on First Ave. in Spokane, between Wall and Howard and changed the name to the Kroll Building.


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

William H. Kroll was already a successful lumberman in Michigan and well into his 60s when he came west in 1911 and stopped in St. Maries, Idaho. Within three years he had built the St. Maries Lumber Co, which became one of the largest mills in the region. He continued to invest in timberlands throughout the northwest. He sold most of his interests in the mill in 1923 for $1.8 million. In 1921, he bought the Merriam Block on First Ave. in Spokane, between Wall and Howard and changed the name to the Kroll Building. The first floor was used for retail space, including Kroll’s Market with multiple vendors. Upstairs were spaces where clubs, like the Knights of Columbus and the University Club, had met for years. Saying he always wanted to do it, Kroll spent $30,000 to remodel the University Club quarters into the new Spokane Women’s Club, the first health club, pool and gathering place specifically for women in Spokane. He served on bank boards and ran apple farms in the Spokane Valley. He died in 1928 at the age of 82, remembered for his philanthropy and loyalty to associates and employees. William’s adult children from a previous marriage fought bitterly with his widow, Anna Kroll over the million-dollar estate. Anna died in 1963. The Kroll building was razed in 1980 to make way for a new bank building.


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