Built not to imprison or punish, but to educate, the Spokane Parental School was an innovation in education and corrections. In 1907, the city board of education authorized the construction of a school for wayward or delinquent boys between the ages of six and fifteen. Before then, there was no such facility for discipline-challenged youths, and many were likely to end up in a prison cell. The site of the school was chosen along peaceful Latah creek. Famous local architect Albert Held offered his services for free, providing a Dutch Colonial revival plan for the building itself. Donations were received from all around the city, and in 1908 the school was completed.
Students of the school took advantage of natural features of the area. Canoeing, fishing, and farming all competed for the attention of the students. The troubled youths were even given animals to raise, and land to work. The school was touted as a success for many years. But by 1940, its costs had ballooned, causing some to wish for its closure. In 1943 the school was victim of wartime financial scarcity, and was closed.
The school grounds and outbuildings have since been converted into a housing development. In 2001, a local attorney bought the school with intent on restoration. The Spokane Parental School is currently a private residence. Please show respect and courtesy to its owners.