Commission Building

Ghost Signs of Spokane Tour - Story 9

Constructed in 1906 by James M. Geraghty, the Commission Building was one of Spokane's early produce warehouses. Built for the Rasher-Kingman-Herrin Company, the Commission Building stored and distributed wholesale perishable produce to nearby businesses and markets. Wholesale distribution of agricultural produce played a key role in Spokane's economic development. All across the Northwest in the early 1900s, warehouses were established near railways, and produce wholesalers unloaded fruits and vegetables directly from trains into warehouses. Once inside, the perishable items would be kept cold with ice and refrigeration until they could be sold at markets.

One of the most well-known wholesale produce merchants in Spokane was Henry M. Herrin. His business focused on the sale of produce, butter, eggs, cheese, and lemons at wholesale prices. In the early 1900s Herrin merged his celebrated wholesale business with prominent business men, C.E. Kingman and Huber Rasher. Kingman and Rasher were well known in the area, having several business ventures including a Columbus Buggy dealership, and a farm equipment store. Kingman was also well known in local political circles. The newly formed Rasher-Kingman-Herrin Company moved into the commission building in 1906. In 1915, the firm moved their business across town. Until its recent occupation of office spaces, the building was used by similar perishable industries.

Situated along the tracks, the Commission Building was designed to move product, specifically produce. Located around the corner from the site of Spokane's first Farmer's Market, the Commission Building was one of several warehouses in the area specializing in the cold storage and sale of perishables. The two-story floor plan is generally rectangular, with a distorted side to accommodate the railroad line. The building's close proximity to the railroad was very advantageous for the company and allowed workers to easily transport goods to and from.

Signs of previous owners can still be seen on the building. Recessed into the brick structure is the word "Commission," along with the names of the original owners, "Rasher, Kingman, Herrin Co." One can also see a faded sign for the Rasher Kingman Herrin Company advertising "Bananas, Oranges, and Lemons," a reminder of the building's cold storage past.


Influence of the Railroad
Image Couresty Lacey Sipos, Spokane Public Library Northwest Room, Tacoma Public Library Digital Archives and the Spokane Daily Chronicle. Narration by local historian Mr. Jim Price
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The Railroad
Local historian Mr. Jim Price
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