“Trace the footsteps of history”
Founded in 1873 by James Nettle Glover, Spokane was first a small settlement known as Spokan Falls (it wouldn't be until 1883 that the "E" was added to Spokan, making the city known as Spokane Falls; in 1891, Falls' was dropped). The natural resources of Eastern Washington- fertile soil, timber, and mineral wealth- eventually attracted more settlers to the area. The present boundaries of Spokane County were created by the legislature in 1879. Incorporated in 1881, Spokane Falls became the county seat in 1887 after a hotly contested battle with Cheney. The year 1889 was an eventful one in the Pacific Northwest when Spokane Falls, Seattle, and Ellensburg were destroyed by disastrous fires. Known as a night of terror devastation, suffering and awful woe, Spokane's response to the Great Fire of 1889, which destroyed 32 blocks of the central portion of the city, was to rebuild immediately, and in a far grander fashion of substantial and elegant brick, stone and terra cotta.Spokane was transformed when the Northern Pacific Railroad arrived in 1881 and was linked transcontinentally in 1883. In that same year, Spokane experienced its first boom when the discovery of gold in the Coeur d'Alene mining district established Spokane as the service center for the north Idaho mines. Spokane suddenly became the center of regional commerce, becoming the main gate to the Pacific Northwest and establishing the Inland Empire which stretched from southern British Columbia to Oregon's Blue Mountains, from the Cascades to the Rockies. Railroad maps showed the metropolis of Spokane as the center, or Imperial City, of the Inland Empire. Spokane's influence was so great during this period that radical ideas arose of making Spokane its own state! Local investors funded by money made in the mines, quickly helped rebuild the city following the fire of 1889. Such was the flurry of construction and concentration of commercial buildings in the downtown core between the base of the South Hill and the Northern Pacific tracks that Railroad Avenue, where the tracks of the Northern Pacific were located, was elevated above street level in 1914-15 in an effort to eliminate traffic problems downtown. Railroads influenced both the development and appearance of Spokane. Railroads made Spokane the hub of the Inland Northwest, transporting new citizens into town and carrying out the wealth of the region.
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Spokane Heritage Walking Tour - Craftsman Architecture
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