Spokane Fires


Spokane Fires


The summer of 1889 was particularly dry in the Pacific Northwest. Forest fires throughout the region were joined by a massive urban fire in Seattle on June 3rd. On August 4th, a fire ignited in a lodging house near the Northern Pacific Depot on Railroad Avenue in the city of Spokane Falls. Racing through the makeshift wooden buildings near the railroad tracks, the flames rapidly spread to the brick downtown. The fire department could not contain the blaze due to equipment failure. In the end, 32 blocks of the city center were razed.

These black and white images are a sample of the Northwest Room's collections showing the aftermath of this fire. Some of the photographs are views of the burnt-out streets and blocks indicating the physical effects of the fire and early reconstruction efforts. The others document the improvised quarters of businesses in the city in the period immediately after the fire.



Items in the Spokane Fires Collection

Spokane Fire, 1889 (#12)
The first electric line being strung along Main Avenue after the 1889 fire.

Spokane Fire, 1889 (#28)
Riverside Ave. after fire.

Spokane Fire, 1889 (#19)
Howard St. looking north

Spokane Fire, 1889 (#18)
First Street looking east from Lincoln.

Spokane Fire, 1889 (#14)
Looking north from Railroad Ave. after the fire.

Spokane Fire, 1889 (#16)
Riverside Avenue looking west after 1889 fire.

Spokane Fire, 1889 (#03)
Remains of the Glover/Pioneer Block after the fire of 1889.

Spokane Fire, 1889 (#04)
Insurance Adjusters, Spokane Fire, Aug 1889.

Spokane Fire, 1889 (#09)
John W. Graham store in buisness in a tent after 1889 fire

Spokane Fire, 1889 (#10)
Insurance adjusters at work in improvised quarters after fire.

Spokane Fire, 1889 (#29)
Drug store operating out of a tent after fire

Spokane Fire, 1889 (#27)
Clough & Graves Real Estate, Bank of Spokane Falls. J.C. Eaton operating out of tents after fire.