In 1889 a great fire swept across the fledging city of Spokane destroying most of the city's downtown. Many of the buildings hastily built after the fire were not of the best quality, workmanship, or materials. Of the 150 buildings that were built in the year following the fire, only ten remain. This building is the oldest. Originally named the Bodie Block this was a Single Room Occupancy that housed workers in the railroad, lumber, agriculture and mining industries. SRO's offered affordable private rooms that were meagerly furnished, and the concept was not unique to Spokane. Indeed, examples abound in major cities all over the United States.
Bodie Block was initially a modern design with references to Romanesque Revival. The building's three symmetrical bays that are dominated by a centered arched window is a great example of this popular design. Above the second floor, "1889" is carved into a sandstone panel. In 1974, due to the popular inscription on the structure, the Bodie Block was renamed the 1889 building.
The builders, and original owners of the block, were Richard T. Daniel, Antone Traut, and Eugene Chamberlin. Their stories are a window into the lives of early Spokane movers and shakers. Richard Daniel came to Spokane in a covered wagon in 1879. At the time of his death in 1949, he still owned several downtown buildings in Spokane. Antone Traut was born in Germany. He followed the gold rush trail west, which eventually led him to Spokane in 1883. Traut made money from mining in Montana and California. Mr. and Mrs. Pounder bought Bodie Block in 1973. The old building was an enjoyable project for the owners of Pounder's Jewelry. Their mission was to bring back the original idea of the building.