Jack-Daniyel Strong, Business Owner Since 2012

"We're divided. We're completely separate, and you have to make a concerted effort to get to one side or the other."

Jack-Daniyel Strong's experience with the East Central community began in 1995, long after the completion of the I-90 freeway, but his comments provide important historical perspective on Spokane residents' negative perceptions of the neighborhood. From its inception, East Central was populated by wage earners, which set it apart from nearby middle and upper-middle class neighborhoods located in Marycliff Park, Rockwood, and Cannon Addition, and on the South Hill. While somewhat more tame than the Hillyard neighborhood north of the Spokane River, East Central was far more racially diverse, which made it a less popular place to live in some ways during the racially charged decades between WWI and WWII. Consequently, property values remained more depressed than those in other parts of the city. Occasional police sweeps into East Central added to the stigma.

By the 1960s, East Central was already known as the poorest residential area in Spokane. The complex disruptions caused by I-90 construction exacerbated existing problems and created new ones. Crime increased as the homeless found shelter under the elevated highway, and a quarter mile-wide blighted strip on either side attracted the unwelcome attentions of those lurking around the socio-economic margins. To make matters worse, points out Jack-Daniyel, city planners made a concerted effort to clean up the downtown area in advance of EXPO '74, driving the unwanted and unsightly to its the West Central, East Central, and Hillyard communities.

Like other businessmen, Jack-Daniyel insists that East Central is finally recovering. New businesses are moving in and more upscale shopping areas, like the South Perry District, are springing up. Instead of downplaying its past, residents and business people are also emphasizing East Central's rich history and making concerted efforts to restore and retain its historic buildings and structures rather than replacing them with new ones. While the neighborhood continues to work to improve its image, it is also finding its place in the larger Spokane community.

Images

Sonora Smart Dodd, founder of Father's Day (image L2003-14.722 courtesy of the Northwest Museum of Arts and Culture)

Sonora Smart Dodd, founder of Father's Day (image L2003-14.722 courtesy of the Northwest Museum of Arts and Culture)

Sonora Dodd lived in the East Central neighborhood until 1950. Her house, which is listed on the Spokane Register of Historic Places, is located just a block south of where I-90 is now. View File Details Page

City of Spokane, Historic Preservation Department East Central Neighborhood tour (available at http://www.historicspokane.org/HeritageTours/east_central/index.html)

City of Spokane, Historic Preservation Department East Central Neighborhood tour (available at http://www.historicspokane.org/HeritageTours/east_central/index.html)

The City of Spokane's Historic Preservation Department actively works to identify and preserve historically important buildings, sites, and structures. This online tour highlights some of the most interesting aspects of the neighborhood. View File Details Page

The home of Sonora Smart-Dodd (image courtesy of the Washington State Department of Archeology and Historic Preservation)

The home of Sonora Smart-Dodd (image courtesy of the Washington State Department of Archeology and Historic Preservation)

The Dodd home is located just a block from I-90. View File Details Page

The John S. Beck house with its opulent gardens at 1723 South Perry Street, 1932 (image L87-1.1362-32)

The John S. Beck house with its opulent gardens at 1723 South Perry Street, 1932 (image L87-1.1362-32)

View File Details Page

The Beryl Metals Company on South Sprague, 1938 (image L87-1.14389-38 courtesy of the Northwest Museum of Arts and Culture)

The Beryl Metals Company on South Sprague, 1938 (image L87-1.14389-38 courtesy of the Northwest Museum of Arts and Culture)

East Central was largely a working-class neighborhood. View File Details Page

Audio

Audio File 1

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Cite this Page:

Spokane Regional Health District's Neighborhoods Matter Program, & Frank Oesterheld, “Jack-Daniyel Strong, Business Owner Since 2012,” Spokane Historical, accessed April 28, 2017, http://spokanehistorical.org/items/show/478.
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