Many different facilities have been used to process mail coming through Spokane, which grew from a dusty frontier town in the 1870s to a critical railroad hub of the Western United States in the early 1900s. Later, its position on Interstate 90 has made it an important truck transport stop for cross-country shipping.
Seth Scranton, one of the first white settlers in Spokane in 1870, ran the first post office out of his log cabin. After that, the post office was usually just a window or a counter in the back of a general store run by obliging business owners. The postal service moved to various office spaces until a courthouse and federal office building was constructed at Riverside Avenue and Lincoln Street in 1909; the city’s main post office opened there in 1911.
In 1913, the Railway Mail Terminal opened next to the Great Northern train depot on Havermale Island. It became the headquarters for the Railway Mail Service, where mail was sorted and loaded onto passing trains. The service put mail clerks sorting the mail on trains, making use of the long hours of travel across the Western states. The building was also known as the Post Office Annex.
In the early 20th century, truck transport became more efficient while automobiles, and later airlines, were taking passengers away from the railroad.
Growing mail volume and new federal programs in the 1930s led to an expansion of the downtown federal building by a third in 1940.
But post-World War II Spokane needed more space in the 1950s, and Havermale Island was considered for a new, larger postal facility, and land was cleared for that purpose.
The congestion of downtown may have prompted the choice of land at Trent Avenue – now Spokane Falls Boulevard – and Cincinnati Street south of Gonzaga College for a new Post Office Annex. The $2 million building opened in 1960 with more than 100,000 square feet, many loading docks and a walk-in office for counter service.
The Trent facility was closed after a larger facility was built at 2928 S. Spotted Road near the Spokane airport in 1999 and shipping and processing moved there in 2000.
Gonzaga University built a new baseball field at Spokane Falls Boulevard and Cincinnati Street in 2007, naming it the Patterson Baseball Complex.