Then and Now

Rookery Block

Francis Cook, the publisher of the Tacoma Herald newspaper, was lured to Spokane in 1879 by the offer of free land from city father James N. Glover. He could have the corner of Riverside and Howard St. if he would open a newspaper to serve the growing town. Cook began publishing The Spokan Times. But the massive 1889 fire destroyed Cook’s two-story wood-frame building and in its place rose the Rookery, a block of four buildings that housed banks, lawyers, dry goods and many other business activities in the heart of the city.


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

Francis Cook, the publisher of the Tacoma Herald newspaper, was lured to Spokane in 1879 by the offer of free land from city father James N. Glover. He could have the corner of Riverside and Howard St. if he would open a newspaper to serve the growing town. Cook began publishing The Spokan Times. But the massive 1889 fire destroyed Cook’s two-story wood-frame building and in its place rose the Rookery, a block of four buildings that housed banks, lawyers, dry goods and many other business activities in the heart of the city. On the corner was Spokane National Bank, six stories with a round corner tower. Wrapped around bank was the White House Building that fronted both Riverside and Howard. East of there was the Riverside Building and south on Howard was the Harrington Building. Building historian Robert Hyslop remembers that the buildings had a system of light wells and adjoining corridors that left odd and irregular rooms in places and made the name Rookery an appropriate moniker. Hyslop remembers dimly lit hallways and said, “the whole place had a musty, dusty smell.” After more than 40 years of use, the block was demolished in 1933 and replaced with a three-story art deco structure called the “new” Rookery, which was torn down in 2005.


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