Robertson Building

Frederick C. Robertson bought this land in 1912. The three-story building is embellished with coupled windows, flat brick and Florentine arches, belt courses of red and white bricks and a projecting cornice supported by scrolled brackets. The interior of the building has been extensively remodeled to accommodate the current tenant, a salon.

F.C. Robertson was born in Louisiana in 1865. He came from a very affluent family that had a tradition of graduating from both Louisiana State University and Georgetown Law School. Robertson could have had no idea that shortly after his move to Spokane, he would defend the Western Miners during one of the most influential cases in Idaho's history.

In the late 1800s, disputes between miner unions and mine owners in the Northwest were frequent and violent, especially in Idaho. Low wages, even longer hours and dangerous working conditions were a common complaint of laborers. To achieve more reasonable conditions unions were formed and strikes ensued. F.C. Robertson represented the miners from Wardner, Id who went on strike to dispute their formidable working conditions. In retaliation to their lost laborers, mine owners imported non-union men and hired armed guards. The Governor heightened the ever sensitive situation by dispatching the National Guard and instituting martial law. Hundreds of laborers were arrested and put into "bullpens," which confined an unimaginable number of men into incredibly tight quarters. Robertson proved in the courts that it was unconstitutional to arrest these miners. Subsequently, all the prisoners were freed, their sentences were reversed, and martial law in the Coeur d'Alenes ended with a ruling by President McKinley.

Architect Kirtland K. Cutter designed the Robertson Building. He is also the artists behind the Davenport Hotel, Washington Water Power Building, Spokane Club, Sherwood Building, the Monroe Street Bridge and several more.

Video

Robertson Building
Image Courtesy of Lacey Sipos, Spokane Public Library Northwest Room, Tacoma Public Library Digital Archive and the Spokane Daily Chronicle Narration by local historian Mr. Jim Price
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