Hillyard

Hillyard is a community in Spokane that is very proud of its heritage. In 1892, this area began as a separate town northeast of Spokane where James J. Hill chose the location outside the city limits specifically to avoid municipal taxation.

The residents named their city for Hill, over his objections. The town served Hill's Great Northern Railroad which developed large facilities in Hillyard for repairing and building trains. For decades Great Northern was the largest employer in Hillyard. As Spokane's population continued to expand in the early twentieth century, the town of Hillyard voted to join Spokane in 1924.

This working class community lost its largest employer in 1982 when mergers between railroad companies eliminated the need for the shops in Hillyard. Times have been difficult in Hillyard, but the community remains committed to bettering their future.

Hillyard Schools

Hillyard began as a working men’s railroad town with a rough-and-tumble reputation. But families quickly followed and the addition of women and children softened the image of the town. Schools provide the mark of a civilized society, and more than…

Hillyard Murals

Hillyard has always been proud of its history and heritage, as demonstrated in the many painted murals throughout the neighborhood. Let’s take a closer look at some of the Hillyard murals. Hillyard's first mural no longer exists. In 1978, a…

Treaty Tree

The large tree that stands before you, with its distinctive curve, once provided shade to a trading post for Native Americans and the Hudson Bay Company. Baptiste Peone, the chief of the Upper Spokane, chose the location in the 1840s, and it became…

Agnes and Thomas Kehoe

Visitors to Hillyard will see the name Kehoe prominently displayed -- on the Kehoe Building, park, and apartments. These are monuments to Agnes and Thomas Kehoe, pioneer citizens of Hillyard. In 1894, Agnes Kelly married Thomas Kehoe, a successful…

James J. Hill

James J. Hill lived the late nineteenth century American dream. Through hard work, perseverance, and sometimes sheer luck, Hill amassed a fortune in the railroad industry though his company Great Northern. Hill was born in a rural community west of…

Great Northern Railway

The Great Northern railroad is the soil on which the town of Hillyard grew. James J. Hill chose this location for his railroad terminal in 1892. The small town rapidly expanded around the railroad industry. The initial population was composed of…

Mount Saint Michael

The cornerstone for the current Mount St. Michael was laid in 1914, but the history of this Catholic church is much older. Father Joseph Cataldo arrived in the Inland Northwest in 1865 as a missionary to the Spokane Indians. In 1866 he…

Hillyard Library

A library is a necessity for any civilized neighborhood. After Spokane annexed Hillyard in 1924 the area qualified for more city services. One of the major services provided by the city, and a staple in twentieth century entertainment, was a public…

The Hillyard Hand Laundry

Being Japanese in Hillyard was not always easy. Home to a large community of railroad workers of every nationality, conflicts between the Japanese and other laborers were frequent, sometimes resulting in riots. This small laundry is one of the few…

Hillyard High School

The original Hillyard High School building, built in 1907, had an initial enrollment of fourteen students and one teacher. By 1911, the student population had grown exponentially to 105 students, symbolizing the growth of the town of Hillyard and the…

Willie Willey: Spokane's Nature Boy

Short on clothes but long on intrigue, Willie Willey and his choice in dress (or lack thereof) made an impression on twentieth century Spokane. Born in 1884, Willis (Willie) Willey grew up in Iowa but moved to Spokane in 1905. As a young twenty…