Montgomery Wards Building - City Hall

You are looking at the old Montgomery Wards building, now Spokane City Hall. The site of this building is wonderfully situated. It over-looks the Lower Spokane Falls, is next to Riverfront Park, and is in the Central Business District of Spokane. However, this was not the case in 1929, when this building was constructed. It was near the business district, but this area was an industrial district. The company decided to build here because it was near the business district and the rail lines. The Union Pacific track passed a short distance to the north of the building and constructed a new spur to run directly next to the building. The building had two large fright elevators on this side of the building. As the area around the building changed business declined. The rail lines moved away, and the industrial district changed into a business district. In 1978 Montgomery Wards moved into a new store on Division Street. The building was bought and renovated by the city and in 1981 opened as Spokane's new City Hall. This building stands today as a symbol for an important chapter in American commerce.

The Montgomery Wards building was constructed in the Art Deco style. It was only the second building in Spokane to use this style. The south and east walls show this style the most, because they are the sides with the most public exposure. The north wall is designed in a plain industrial style because it is a side rarely seen by costumers. The west wall is styled in a manner half way between the Art Deco of the south and east walls and the plain industrial style of the north wall. The first floor has large display windows and the southeast and southwest corners are cut at 45 degree angles to allow for display windows at these points. The Art Deco style was also used inside on the basement, first and second floors, the top five floors were left unfinished because they were only used for storage. Today little remains of the original interior, but the exterior is for the most part intact. Only a few minor changed have occurred and recently the building was painted an off-white color.



Brief History of Montgomery Wards
Source: National Register of Historic Places Nomination
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