Frederick/Longbotham Building

Ghost Signs of Spokane Tour - Story 16

Like many buildings in the East Downtown Historic District, the Frederick/Longbotham building speaks to Spokane's past through the many faded advertisements still visible on its exterior.

At the top of the north, east, and west walls on the exterior of the building, one can still see the faint but readable sign of the Frederick Hotel.

In the 19th century, Spokane was a cocoon waiting to emerge into an industrial age. Spokane's "Great Fire" in 1889 left the city with a blank canvas, allowing new businesses and entrepreneurs to emerge. As a major inland railroad hub, Spokane flourished bringing men from near and far seeking wealth and opportunity. The demand for cheap housing for men working the rails and nearby mines was met in the form of Single Room Occupancy Hotels (SROs).

Constructed in 1909, by businessman Charles McNab and architect Alfred Jones, the Frederick Building was designed with workingmen in mind. Costing $40,000, the new building provided 57 residential rooms on the upper floors while renting street level spaces for local businesses. Opening in the 1910s, the Frederick Hotel was one of the most successful and prominent Japanese-owned businesses in Spokane. Though it passed through the hands of several owners, including Kanekichi Mori and Ogo Kazudo, the Frederick Hotel is one of many businesses owned and operated by Japanese Americans in downtown. Though it retained some of the old signage, the building was renamed the Longbotham in the 1930s and was home to the Lewis Hotel, named after the new owner Lewis Longbothom,

In addition to the painted banners for the Frederick Hotel, the Frederick/Longbotham building is also home to advertisements by Albers Rolled Oats, Rex Flour, and Bull Durham Tobacco, all painted around the construction of the building. These advertisements were strategically painted in places of high visibility, appealing to SRO residents and the workers passing through from the nearby rail depots.

To learn more about the Bull Durham Tobacco advertisements featured on this building, see Story 17 of the Ghosts of Spokane Tour, "Boots Bakery and Bull Durham Smoking Tobacco."


The Longbotham Building, 2012

The Longbotham Building, 2012

The "Longbothom" name plate near the top of the building replaced an earlier "Frederick" nameplate, signifying its name change in the 1930s. Image Courtesy of Flickr user Paul Sableman View File Details Page

Frederick Hotel and Albers Rolled Oats

Frederick Hotel and Albers Rolled Oats

Seen on the east side of the building, these ghost signs were painted in the 1910s. Image Courtesy of Frank Oesterheld View File Details Page

Rex Is King

Rex Is King

This stunning advertisement for Rex Flour is the second sign to grace this spot. If you look closely you can make out an earlier advertisement for "Smoking Tobacco" seen beneath the shield. Image Courtesy of Axle Olson View File Details Page

Cite this Page:

Axle Olson and Anna Harbine, “Frederick/Longbotham Building,” Spokane Historical, accessed June 25, 2017,
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