Spokane’s Hotel History

The early years of Spokane as it began to grow. (Photograph courtesy of the Spokane Historic Preservation Office)

Spokane was built on the backs of working class labor and the families they brought with them.  Arriving first on horseback, then railroad, and finally by automobile, people throughout Spokane’s history traveled here in search of making a new life and possibly a living wage, maybe even a fortune.  While the new migrants and immigrants may have chosen different paths upon arrival, there was one thing they all had in common – everyone needed a place to stay.  Accommodations were necessary until it was either time to head out towards new work ventures or make the decision to stay in Spokane and put down roots.

The history of this great city can be told through those accommodations as they were all built due to the rapid growth of the working class population due the logging, railroad, mining, and agriculture industries that popped up almost seemingly overnight.  Spokane began with a couple of hotels to accommodate the small amount of travelers and workers and built up to the point that there was a single room occupancy (SRO) hotel on nearly every block, sometimes entire blocks, of the downtown and transportation corridor area.  As the industry died down and the need for SROs was no longer as imperative, luxury hotels and hotels geared more towards the visiting traveler were built in their stead.

The menu on the right side of the page will take you through the different hotels of each era.  However, if you’d like to start at the beginning, start with the Frontier Spokane Hotels.  At the bottom of each post, you’ll find a link taking you to the next hotel in the series.

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