Single Room Occupancy Hotels (SROs)

Workers and travelers to Spokane who arrived by train would have most likely dined during their trip. This menu was offered by the Northern Pacific Railway which traveled to the city. Click on the picture for the full menu. (Photograph courtesy of What’s on the Menu)

Single Occupancy Hotels (SROs) were built during what was the greatest growth period in Spokane’s history for the working class entering the city.  At the turn of the century, the population in Spokane exploded from 36,848 to 104,402 in just 10 years and the city became a central hub for the Eastern Washington region, referred to as the Inland Empire.  Miners, farmers, lumbermen, railroad workers, and other laborers were drawn to the area as new businesses and industries began cropping up at a rapid rate.  These workers were ready to fill these jobs, but not yet able to set down permanent roots, thus the need for SROs.  This type of temporary housing provided a place to rest their heads at a cheap rate, with not many extra frills attached.

One of the first SROs built was the Transient Hotel.