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Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883
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From the Desert Caravan Hotel to the Quality Inn, Sunset Highway motel has history

A long line of visitors waiting to get a view of the new Desert Caravan Inn in June 1951. The hotel, which later was renamed the Spokane House Motor Inn, became a Quality Inn in the 1980s.  (Spokesman-Review photo archives)
A long line of visitors waiting to get a view of the new Desert Caravan Inn in June 1951. The hotel, which later was renamed the Spokane House Motor Inn, became a Quality Inn in the 1980s. (Spokesman-Review photo archives)

Since the 1950s, 4301 W. Sunset Blvd. has existed as a hotel.

That could come to an end soon after the state Department of Commerce awarded funding to Catholic Charities Eastern Washington to purchase the building. Catholic Charities plans to convert the hotel into permanent supportive housing for homeless populations, particularly toward relocating the people who live at the Camp Hope homeless encampment on Second Avenue and Ray Street.

For now, though, the building is a Quality Inn.

It was first built around 1950 as the Desert Caravan Inn by Victor Dessert Jr. and his wife Georges, according to archive records. Dessert’s father had built a number of hotels in Spokane in the late 1800s, ultimately starting a family business.

Regarded by the Chronicle newspaper as “the handsome 68-unit motor hotel,” the three-story Caravan Inn was known as one of the first motels of its kind in the Pacific Northwest.

The Desert Caravan was sold in 1964 to Big West Oil Co. of Montana, a Spokane corporation, for an undisclosed amount. It was renamed a year later as the “Spokane House Motor Inn.”

“We’ve purchased some adjacent land for possible future development and expansion,” Robert G. Hawley, president and GM of Big West, told The Spokesman-Review that August. “We have great faith in Spokane and the Inland Empire and have long regarded the Sunset Hill site as one of the most beautiful in the area.”

The rebranding was finished in 1965 after the motel closed the prior November for extensive renovations.

In 1970, the motel and the rest of Big West’s controlling interests were purchased by Canadian firm Thunderbird Petroleums, Inc., later known as Canadian Hydrocarbons Ltd.

Ownership of the motor inn bounced around later that decade. It was purchased in 1977 by William Brenner, a Portland contractor developer who quickly sold the property to Mr. and Mrs. B.A. “Rosie” Vonada and Mr. and Mrs. George Beauregard.

The Vonadas and Beauregards announced plans to double the size of the Spokane House by adding 60 more units through two single-story wings. That didn’t happen, as the property was sold later that year to Spokane natives Terry Paul Wynia and Lynda Green.

Wynia owned the motel for several years from there.

The motor inn’s rebranding to a Quality Inn, then called “Quality Inn-Spokane House,” was announced in 1982. The rebranding brought the addition of two floors, increasing the total number of rooms to 90, as well as sauna and jacuzzi facilities and four bridal suites.

The Spokane House was sold in 1986 to a California investment trust group, though Wynia’s management group continued to run the motel. The sale didn’t include the Spokane House Restaurant, which remained independently owned by Gary and Kathy Henderson until closing in 1991.

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