Morgan Block

Much like Henry Sorg who saw the need for inexpensive housing and built the Globe Hotel in 1908, Spokane real estate developer Daniel Morgan hired architect Alfred Jones to design the Fairmont Hotel in 1909. Also like the Globe Hotel, this Single Room Occupancy Hotel located on the Morgan Block, was occupied almost immediately after its completion. According to a Census Record from 1910, men from distances as far as Pennsylvania, New York, Germany, Sweden, England, and Canada rented rooms at this structure. The men were young, mostly unmarried laborers.

A typical SRO had street level commercial bays with rooms up above. A Single Room Occupancy is a multiple tenant building that houses one or two people in individual rooms. SRO tenants typically had their own bed, closet and sink, and then shared a bathroom and a kitchen. The Fairmont was in operation for over 90 years, making it one of the oldest SROs in town. The Fairmont originally had 140 single occupancy rooms and each room had a window that could be opened for fresh air. In 1943, through a federal relief program, the Morgan Block provided temporary housing for veterans of World War II. When the government no longer had a need for the building, it was turned into an apartment complex and renamed the Fairmont Apartments.

The owner, Daniel Morgan was born in Oregon in 1869. After moving to Spokane, he became a Washington State Senator and prominent local property developer. Morgan ensured his wealth by making the wise decision to invest in Coeur d'Alene mining operations. Architects Whitehouse and Price designed a spectacular home for the Morgan's at 242 Manito Place.

This structure is six-stories of 18-inch-thick load-bearing walls. Due to a drop in grade, one side of the building has five-stories, and the other, six. Just above you is a centered, recessed panel that says "MORGAN." This is a replica of the original panel. In 1941, the Morgan Block was damaged by a fire and much of it was destroyed. The structure was then repaired, only to fall victim to another fire in 1999.



The Morgan Block
An excerpt from an interview with local historian, Jim Price
View File Record