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The Spokane Riverfront Park boardwalk at night with the clock tower, and the Looff Carrousel off to the right. 72 dpi, 300 dpi, 600 dpi
The Spokane Riverfront Park boardwalk at night with the clock tower, and the Looff Carrousel off to the right.

Spokane Riverfront Park – Clock Tower

The Great Northern Railroad came to Spokane, WA in 1892. A depot and clock tower was completed in 1902, at the cost of $150,000. In 1974, when Riverfront Park was constructed for the 1974 Expo, the depot was demolished, leaving just the clock tower. The clock needs to be wound by a hand crank weekly by a Riverfront Park employee. The golden boardwalk on the right of the picture curves around the Looff Carrousel.  Riverfront Park underwent a major remodel in 2017-2018. This picture was taken shortly after the renovations were completed in June 2018.

The Monroe Street bridge looms over the Spokane Falls gondola ride at night in downtown Spokane, Washington. 72 dpi, 300 dpi, 600 dpi
The Monroe Street bridge looms over the Spokane Falls gondola ride at night in downtown Spokane, Washington.

The Monroe Street Bridge

The first bridge on this site was built from wood for horses and wagons. In 1890, a more modern steel bridge was constructed. The bridge shook horribly as trolley cars and other traffic traversed it, leading to it being deemed unsafe by the National Good Roads Association 15 years later in 1905. Five years after that, the south side of the Monroe Street Bridge collapsed in a mudslide.

The new bridge, that we have today, was designed by engineer John Chester Ralston, and architects Kirtland K. Cutter and Karl G. Malmgren. The bridge spans a 1500 ft wide and 140 ft deep gorge. Due to the high winds, dangerous currents, and high water levels, two laborers died, and 50 were injured. When the bridge opened on November 23, 1911, it was the world’s largest concrete-arch bridge.  Thanks in part to the 2003-2005 restoration, today the bridge looks much like it did in 1911.

Downtown Spokane and Spokane Falls at night. 72 dpi, 300 dpi, 600 dpi
Downtown Spokane and Spokane Falls at night.

Downtown Spokane

Spokane was founded in 1873 by James Nettle Glover, incorporated in 1881, and named the county seat in 1887. During the Great Fire of 1889, 32 blocks of what would become downtown Spokane was destroyed by a disastrous fire. Spokane’s response was to rebuild immediately, with grand terra cotta and stone buildings to replace the burnt ruins, financed by the wealth pouring into the city from the nearby Coeur d’Alene area gold and silver mines. By 1907, the city had nearly doubled to 37 square miles, and almost 100,000 people.

Much of Spokane’s historic downtown buildings have been preserved, and are still in use, with over 50% of downtown buildings carrying the “Historic” designation. Several important buildings, including the American Legion Building, the Davenport Hotel, and the Steam Plant Square have been renovated and restored within the last 20 years.

The Post Street Bridge with the Red Lion Hotel and the Riverfront Park Pavilion in the background. 72 dpi, 300 dpi, 600 dpi
The Post Street Bridge with the Red Lion Hotel and the Riverfront Park Pavilion in the background.

The Post Street Bridge

The original bridge, built sometime before 1893, was a wooden toll bridge whose records have been lost in the city’s archives. That bridge survived the Great Fire of 1889, to be replaced in 1893 by a steel bridge. The steel bridge functioned well was in the process of being replaced in 1915 by a concrete bridge when it collapsed, taking 25 workers with it into the river. In 1937, the bridge was widened to support automobile traffic.

The current bridge functioned well for nearly 50 years, until the mid 1980’s, when engineers noted structural repair. Over the last 30 years, those non-critical repairs have become critical. The bridge, formerly able to handle two-way automobile traffic, is now limited to one lane of north-bound traffic, bicycles and pedestrians. Engineers note that the concrete, and the metal support rods are crumbling away. Of serious concern is also the large sewer pipe that the bridge carries, transporting most of the sewage from the greater downtown area. Plans are currently underway to design and construct a new bridge at this location, with the intent of preserving the concrete arch.  Demolition may occur as early as Fall 2018, with the new bridge in place by 2020.

The Post Street Bridge and the Washington Water Power building, with the Red Lion Hotel and the Riverfront Park Pavilion in the background. 72 dpi, 300 dpi, 600 dpi
`The Post Street Bridge and the Washington Water Power building, with the Red Lion Hotel and the Riverfront Park Pavilion in the background.

Washington Water Power

After just a few months’ of being in business, Washington Water Power was faced with a huge hurdle. 32 blocks of downtown Spokane was destroyed by the Great Fire of 1889. Suddenly needing to provide power to a devastated business district, baling wire and barbed wire were strung to restore electricity.

The first hydroelectric facility was built on this location in 1890, and has been providing power to the Spokane area ever since. The dam was rebuilt in 1974 in preparation for the 1974 Expo, and an underground powerhouse was added in 1992. In 1999, WWP was renamed to Avista, which currently powers much of Spokane and the surrounding area.

The back side of the INBC Performing Arts building at night in downtown Spokane, Washington, as viewed from the Riverfront Park boardwalk. 72 dpi, 300 dpi, 600 dpi
The back side of the INBC Performing Arts building at night in downtown Spokane, Washington, as viewed from the Riverfront Park boardwalk.

Back side of INB Performing Arts Center

Initially known as the Washington State Pavilion Opera House, the building was built in honor of the 1974 World Fair (1974 Expo). The Spokane Opera House can seat 2,700 spectators for events ranging from symphony concerts, operas, ballet and dance shows, musical theater productions, and lectures. In 2006, the Opera House was re-named the INB Performing Arts Center, in honor of a 10 year, $1.5 million deal. On September 19.2018, the INB Performing Arts Center was re-named to the First Interstate Center for the Arts, and the INB Performing Arts Center name will be phased out as of November 2018, in conjunction with the re-opening of the building from a six-month remodeling project.  This picture was taken in June, 2018.

The Garland theater at night, Spokane, WA 72 dpi, 300 dpi, 600 dpi
The Garland theater at night, Spokane, WA

Spokane’s Garland Theater

The Garland Movie Theatre opened in November of 1945. It was touted as a modern, state-of-the-art movie theater, with germicidal lamps to make the air pure, and an excessive amount of legroom and comfort. The original theater held 1,000 seats. Today, that number has been reduced to 630 due to larger seats needing to be installed for modern-day comfort.

Struggling to compete with the large multiplexes that took over the industry in the later part of the 80’s and 90’s, the theater closed its doors from 1986 to 1988. It was re-opened as a discount theater, which it still functions as today.

Japanese Gardens at Manito
Japanese Gardens at Manito Park, Spokane, WA

Manito Park

Manito Park features five gardens, a conservatory, and a duck pond. Originally named Montrose Park, but was re-named to Manito Park (which means “sprit of nature”) in 1903. The park features 90 acres, and is considered the premier garden showcase in Spokane, featuring roses, dahlias, lilacs, and many more. It sees over 150,000 visitors each year. For more information, please visit http://www.manitopark.org/Manito-Park-Info/Manito_Park_History.asp

Riverside State Park in the snow
Riverside State Park in the snow

Riverside State Park

Riverside State Park was established to protect a portion of the Spokane River from development. The area around Bowl and Pitcher was given to the State of Washington in 1933 by residents and the Washington Water & Power Co. Today, Riverside State Park includes over 10,000 acres of land for camping, fishing, hiking, swimming, and a vast number of other outdoor adventures.

Sunflower Fields
Sunflower Fields near Deer Park

Sunflower Fields

The owners of these fields grow sunflowers wild, and leave them over the winter to provide food for the local wildlife. These fields are a popular destination for both portrait and landscape photographers.