Judge John Blinkley built the Montvale Block in 1899. The Montvale Block was as a Single Resident Occupancy hotel, which meant that much like a hotel each tenant had their own room as a measure of privacy. The Single Resident Occupancy or SRO system was a common form of living for the many working class laborers in Spokane. The rent for these rooms was between $1-2 per day or $5 per week at the turn of the 20th Century. Originally the Montvale housed 30 tenants on the second floor and 30 tenants on the third floor. The Montvale is the oldest standing hotel in Spokane today.

The story of the Montvale is also the story of William J. Kilmer. Kilmer began as a hardware clerk in 1899 and became vice president and manager of the firm he was working for in 1909. In 1910 Kilmer bought Union Hardware Company with G.A. Brown, the two later sold the store in 1913. In 1913 Kilmer established Kilmer Hardware Store in the Montvale Block. Kilmer Hardware expanded over time to take over more of the ground floor retail space in the building. Kilmer Hardware later became Kimer & Sons Hardware Co. and remained as the ground floor tenant of the Montvale block from 1913 to 1966. In 1937 William Kilmer bought the Montvale from his longtime friend John Blinkley.

In the 1970s the Montvale Block became used as a youth hostel to provide affordable housing to the men and women who came to visit Expo '74. After Expo the Montvale Block ceased to operate as a hotel and the upper two floors were vacant. In 2005 after much refurbishment, the current Montvale Hotel, Catacombs pub and Scout opened.



Adapted from "Alert Police Officer Prevents Loss of Life in Spokane Fire." Spokane Daily Chronicle, October 28, 1949.
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