Old City Hall

Spokane's Old City Hall was built in 1912-1913. The structure was intended to temporarily house the government of Spokane until funding could be raised for the constructions of a larger and more grand structure. The building was designed to be converted into a warehouse once a new building had been completed, which was supposed to take place within five years. However, the city's government has been fiscally conservative so the money for the construction of a new building was never raised. So, this building served as the city seat of Spokane for nearly 70 years.

The need for a new building to house the city government arose in 1910 when the city agreed to sell the location of the previous city hall to the Milwaukee and North Coast Railroad. The railroad wanted to build a new line and the previous city hall was directly in its path. In February 1911, through an eminent domain proceeding in the Superior Court, the city acquired the property on the corner of Wall Street and Spokane Falls Boulevard. Julius A. Zittel was chosen to design the building. He proposed two large structures that were voted down. Eventually a smaller and more plain building was settled on. This building was designed to be temporary and was intended to be replaced as soon as money could be raised. In May 1912 the contract was giving to M. C. Murphy Co. to construct the building.

Julius Zittel was born in Germany in 1869. He immigrated to America and studied architecture in Chicago. This influenced many of his buildings including the Old City Hall building, which combines elements of Commercial Style and Chicago Style. He came to Spokane in 1887 just before the Great Fire of 1889 and participated in the building craze that took place after it.

In 1982 the seat of city government was moved into the former Montgomery-Wards Building. The Old City Hall building was converted for commercial use. Through all of this, the building has only undergone minor changes and is still largely in its original condition.



The Character of Spokane
Source: National Register of Historic Places Nomination
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