Home Telephone & Telegraph Company Building

On December 31, 1886, Spokane had its first telephone exchange and an infrastructure for the technology was established. Thaddeus Lane, an entrepreneur from Ohio, was responsible for the exchange found himself in need of a headquarters. Lane quickly hired the now famous Spokane architect, Albert Held, to design a building to house his promising company. The site that the Home Telephone & Telegraph Company set up shop in was formerly occupied by three frame buildings that were all connected. In 1890, these adjacent wood buildings were used by grocery markets, warehouses and restaurants.

This new telephone communication center was a first for the city of Spokane. Companies of this stature were known for over-the-top grand openings, and the Home Telephone & Telegraph Company was no exception. Headlines would later describe that Theodore Roosevelt himself brought the companies machinery to life with a touch of a golden button. The company pioneered their industry with the developing Spokane's earliest automatic dial telephone system. This new system was controversial, due to the fact that switchboard operators were no longer needed. But the desire for private automatic telephone services vastly outweighed the local operators' dispute.

The Home Telephone & Telegraph Company Building is a two-story commercial block constructed of steel-reinforced concrete and brick masonry. The Home Telephone & Telegraph Company Building has undergone several alterations during the last 100 years. Most significantly, the building's brick neighbors were demolished and replaced with parking lots. The Home Telephone & Telegraph Company Building's exposed brick walls were covered with gray stucco, but was later removed.



Architects in Early Spokane
An interview with local historian, Jim Price, discussing construction by architects after the Great Fire of 1889.
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