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Thursday, October 29, 2020  Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883
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Then and Now: Liberty Lake Golf Course clubhouse

Liberty Lake, a recreation destination for local residents as early as 1900, was named for Etienne Eduard La Liberte, a mail carrier and guide for the U.S. Army. He was a native of Quebec who homesteaded there in 1871 and raised cattle on a large parcel on the north and west shorelines. Stephen Liberty, as he was known locally, sold off the last of his land shortly before his death in 1911.

In the early 1900s, the electric train to Coeur d’Alene dropped thousands near the lake to enjoy the sandy beaches, prompting the construction of a large resort hotel and private homes and boat tour services. By the start of World War II, the north shore of the lake was ringed with private homes, limiting public recreation.

In 1945, the private Spokane Valley Country Club bought 50 acres on the north shore of the lake for a private nine-hole golf course and some homesites. The small club struggled for several years to complete the course. In the early 1950s, the club purchased 109 more acres with a new plan for 18 holes and more homes.

When homesites didn’t sell fast enough, the club offered most of the land to Spokane County in 1957 to build a public course. The county accepted, and Liberty Lake Golf Course opened in 1959 as the county’s second golf course after Hangman Valley.

A new clubhouse was designed for the new course by architect Warren Heylman, whose gently flaring rooflines and midcentury aesthetic are seen in the Spokane International Airport terminal, the Parkade building, and many other structures and homes.

Liberty Lake Golf Course was an immediate hit, returning healthy profits to the county. The popularity made it hard to get a tee time and created demand for another course. The county opened its third course, MeadowWood Golf Course, just across Valleyway Avenue in 1988.

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