Demolition began this week on one of the oldest buildings in Spokane Valley, a one-story brick structure that until recently housed a number of shops and businesses at the southeast corner of Progress Road and Sprague Avenue.
The building was constructed in 1924 by August Hultman; it housed one of the area’s first gas stations. The building sat on what was known as the Vera Block, which got its name from the daughter of Donald K. McDonald, who was the founder of Veradale, said Jayne Singleton, executive director of the Spokane Valley Heritage Museum.
“We knew what was going to happen,” Singleton said of the demolition. “We have so few historic buildings in Spokane Valley still standing. It’s sad.”
Spokane Valley records indicate a demolition permit was sought in late August and approved on Tuesday. Cory Carper, president of Rob’s Demolition Inc. of Spokane, said he didn’t know who owned the property or future plans for the site.
Carper said he expects the demolition work to last about two weeks.
Property records indicate the building is owned by Legacy Group Development LLC. One of the owners, attorney James “Jamie” Wolff, did not return a message seeking comment Wednesday.
Singleton said the Vera Block was owned for generations by the Hultman family before it sold several years ago to the current owners.
The Hultmans “are supporters of the museum,” Singleton said. “When they were getting ready to sell, we got quite a bit of archival material and artifacts from the store.”
The family allowed Singleton to sort through several artifacts, including three glass display cases used in the original Hultman store and scales from the Vera Post Office, which also once was housed in the brick structure.
“It took us two days to acquire and bring to our storage all of the wonderful things that the Hultman family donated to the museum,” she said.
Efforts to reach the Hultman descendants in Seattle were unsuccessful Wednesday.
Some of the artifacts obtained included wooden hand tools used by Andy Hultman, a craftsman who built many of the nearby homes, Singleton said.
The block is part of the original Vera Plat that was obtained by McDonald in 1907, Singleton said. The three-square-mile site, later called Veradale, stretches from Evergreen Road to an area east of Sullivan Road, she said. Vera was the name of McDonald’s only child.
McDonald came to Spokane in 1881 and, after working in construction for the Northern Pacific Railroad, he farmed a homestead near Edwall.
In 1884, he started a real estate career after joining the Oregon Mortgage company. He and various partners acquired land and built irrigation projects in Eastern Washington and North Idaho.
McDonald would establish Vera Electric Water Co. in 1908 along with partners A.C. Jamison and Andrew Good. The utility continues today as Vera Water and Power.
In 2003, Veradale was absorbed by the incorporation of Spokane Valley.
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