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A motor inn catering to America’s generation of car travelers opened in 1963 on the site of what used to be the historic Spokane Hotel. The Ridpath Motor Inn had underground parking, a pool, 70 rooms and a skywalk across First Avenue.
Washington Water Power’s first major power project, which began producing power in 1890, was located at the lower falls near Monroe Street. An 18-foot dam of rocks and timbers pooled water above the power plant’s intake, and two giant pipes fed the water downhill to generators in a newly built powerhouse just below the Monroe Street Bridge.
A tale of two neighbors: The Granite Block was the result of a massive rebuild after the Great Fire of 1889; the Paulsen Building had roots in the sudden wealth of a man who struck it rich in mining.
The Lang Building was erected on Washington Street in 1891. Most of the downtown buildings in that era were built for ground floor retail space, with a hotel or residence rooms above. But the Lang was built for large meeting rooms, so windows on the sides of the building are taller, and the front windows are stylishly arched to allow light inside. The first listing of the Lang building called it the Grand Army Hall. The Grand Army of the Republic was the fraternal organization for those who served in the Union Army in the Civil War. The first of three G.A.R. posts in Spokane was founded in 1883. The national organization peaked at 490,000 total members in 1890. Eventually there would be posts in every state, even in the South.
The Spokane Valley Heritage Museum is planning a notable exhibit in July featuring documents and photos from the late Spokane aviator Nick Mamer.
The Maple Street Bridge, which opened to traffic on July 1, 1958, is 1,716 feet long, towering 125 feet above the Spokane River, and its road surface is 50 feet wide, plus a 5-foot-wide pedestrian path on the southbound side.
Single-room occupancy hotels accommodated downtown Spokane’s booming early 1900s, including the Albany, Regal and Stanford hotels. Rooms had a bed, sink, wardrobe and little else.
The old Palace building got a complete makeover in mid-century style, for the incoming J.C. Penney store.
The first corporate exhibitor to sign on for Expo ’74 was Ford Motor Co. The commitment was made in January of 1973, just 17 months before the opening ceremonies in May of 1974.
Rosa D. Malone arrived in Spokane as a Works Progress Administration supervisor and founded the Booker T. Washington Community Center in the basement of Calvary Baptist Church in 1937.
R. G. “Buck” Buchanan, born in 1901 and raised on a cattle ranch in New Mexico, started in the car business in 1918 as a driving instructor in Missoula, Montana, teaching new car owners how to drive their purchases.
When Spokane city father James Glover arrived in 1874, science had yet to explain the rocky buttes and basins of Eastern Washington or the other varied landscapes of the Washington Territories.
John B. Blalock, born 1856 in Sevier County, Tennessee, was one of Spokane Falls’ early settlers, arriving in 1879, after stops in Oregon and Walla Walla.
Historian Robert Hyslop, in his book “Spokane Building Blocks,” explains why Spokane’s Union Station, shown under construction in 1913, was called a station and not a depot. There had already been a Union Depot in Spokane serving the OR&N, the Union Pacific and the Great Northern in Spokane’s earliest days. In addition, people thought the word “depot” was old-fashioned and “station” was more stylish.
In the late 1800s, America entrepreneurs have created a revolution in retail business by appealing to the thriftiness of the shopper and offering a wide variety of merchandise to save customers time. This was the origin of the dime store.
Thing were changing quickly in the early 1970s in Spokane. Civic leaders were planning for Expo ’74, and businesses were changing the look of downtown Spokane. On the corner of Third Avenue and Lincoln Street, many changes were taking place. The New Earl Apartments, a three-story, 13-unit block at 224 S. Lincoln St., first appeared in the city’s phone listings in 1927. By 1971, it was getting a little run-down.
George Ethan Bartoo was one Spokane’s first mechanics and car dealers. As a young man in the 1880s in Indiana, he and a friend built a simple steam-powered cart which could run and drive but “had a habit of shaking to pieces,” he said.
On December 17, 1886, J.J. Browne, Henry C. Marshall and A.J. Ross incorporated the Spokane Street Railway company to build the rails and operate streetcars. The first priority was to connect Browne’s Addition with downtown Spokane.
Two buildings, both built in 1906, on First Ave. in Spokane have been important places of business to both farmers and urban residents.
In 1909, 15-year-old Eli Saad arrived nearly penniless in Spokane. His older brothers Paul and John had started the Saad Bros. Shoe Repair, Pool Room and Cigars in 1906, and he soon joined the business.