The Kemp & Hebert Building

Built in 1908, Kemp & Hebert Building represents a style of construction that was extremely popular in Spokane for the time. While many new buildings were adopting the new technology of steel-supported frames or reinforced concrete, the architect of the Kemp & Herbert chose the more common wooden and masonry frame. The building was designed by architect Alfred Jones, who came to Spokane in 1899, at the age of 27. He opened his own firm in 1904, working with architectural greats like Alonzo J. Grover and J. T. Levesque.

The Kemp & Hebert Building was one of Spokane's first department stores. Charles Kemp and Henry Hebert, among thousands of others, were drawn to Spokane's stimulated post fire economy. The company quickly grew into one of the largest retail and wholesale dry goods businesses in the Northwest. From 1925 to 1935, Kemp & Herbert bought and absorbed other retail stores throughout the region.

A young orphaned Charles J. Kemp, who had once found himself selling newspapers in Michigan, moved to Spokane in the mid-1880s and quickly became very wealthy. Mr. Kemp became president of the Kemp & Hebert corporation, and held investments across Eastern Washington and into Canada. Hebert came to Spokane from Illinois in 1889, became president after Kemp died and held that position until he retired in 1940.

The four-story building covered in red pressed brick with a glazed terracotta trim can be categorized as both Neo-Classical and Commercial Style design. The structural architectural elaboration is symmetrical in design, from its fenestration and window spandrels to its projecting cornice. The street level consists of five store fronts, including Auntie's Bookstore, who funded a renovation of the building. This local bookstore has been a Spokane gem since 1978.

Images

Audio

Fire Insurance Adjustors in the Early 1900s
An interview with EWU Professor of Geography Dr. Turbeville
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The Kemp and Hebert
An interview with local historian, Jim Price about the Kemp and Hebert
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Historic Buildings and New Steel-Frame Technology
An interview with EWU Professor of Geography Dr. Turbeville
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