Arrow-right Camera

Color Scheme

Subscribe now

This column reflects the opinion of the writer. Learn about the differences between a news story and an opinion column.

100 years ago in Spokane: Electric heating and music at the push of a button were part of the innovative future predicted for the city

 (S-R archives)

A story in the SR’s Sunday magazine envisioned a future when “homes will be heated with electricity.”

An expert on electricity noted that coal furnaces were inefficient, unreliable and high-maintenance. He also noted that cooking with electricity would be “much more satisfactory.”

He also envisioned many other improvements. He predicted we could push a button and have “a concert brought into our homes.” This may be via wire, or, even better, wireless.

“There will be a change in our transportation system,” he predicted. “There will be more electric automobiles … electric bicycles and tricycles will be developed. … Our cellars will be the place to keep them. We will have driveways going under the house. This will eliminate the need for garages, which many times mar the beauty of the landscape and the property. While they are in the basement, they will have their batteries recharged.”

From the building beat: Spokane’s National Guard Armory at Second Avenue and McClellan was undergoing a vast expansion. A third story was being added, and a large three-story addition was being built on its west end.

When finished, “it will be nearly as large as the Seattle Armory.” It would have room for 10 Washington National Guard companies – eight more than the present building.

The state had appropriated money for the expansion after a 1920 act of the U.S. Congress “put the national guard forces in the first line of national defense with the regular army.”

The Julius Zittel-designed building still stands downtown, and houses a variety of businesses and organizations.

More from this author