Arrow-right Camera
The Spokesman-Review Newspaper

The Spokesman-Review Newspaper The Spokesman-Review

Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883
Partly Cloudy Night 55° Partly Cloudy
News >  Spokane

100 years ago in Spokane: Under city official’s plan, all streets would be numbered and Division would be Sixth Street East

A city commissioner proposed a plan to “abolish street names in the city and to substitute numbers and points of the compass,” the Spokane Daily Chronicle reported on Feb. 5, 1917. (Spokesman-Review archives)
A city commissioner proposed a plan to “abolish street names in the city and to substitute numbers and points of the compass,” the Spokane Daily Chronicle reported on Feb. 5, 1917. (Spokesman-Review archives)

A city commissioner floated a plan to “abolish street names in the city and to substitute numbers and points of the compass.”

He said it would “simplify the street naming plan (and) make it easy for every one to locate himself in Spokane.”

But would it?

The plan proposed that Main Street would become First Street North; Sprague Avenue would become First Street South; Wall Street would become First Street West; and Stevens would become First Street East. This plan would then be continued out, with, for instance, Division Street becoming Sixth Street East and Monroe Street becoming Fourth Street West.

“Under the new plan, which works like clockwork in Salt Lake City, a child can locate any street or intersection in a second,” said the commissioner.

The plan came in “for some good-humored joshing from his fellow commissioners.” Mayor Fleming immediately identified one of the plan’s flaws. The mayor caused a ripple of laughter by asking, “What number would Northwest Boulevard be, anyway?”

Yet the commissioners saw some merit in the proposal and said they would consider it.

The Spokesman-Review Newspaper

Local journalism is essential.

Give directly to The Spokesman-Review's Northwest Passages community forums series -- which helps to offset the costs of several reporter and editor positions at the newspaper -- by using the easy options below. Gifts processed in this system are not tax deductible, but are predominately used to help meet the local financial requirements needed to receive national matching-grant funds.

Active Person

Subscribe to the Coronavirus newsletter

Get the day’s latest Coronavirus news delivered to your inbox by subscribing to our newsletter.