Spokane is great example of how Northwest cities were able to organize nature through commerce. From its beginning, Spokane was connected to its abundant hinterland of resources and budding industries. A rare survivor of the 1889 fire, the Spokane Dry Goods Realty Company Building is one of the oldest structures in Spokane. As one might imagine, the Dry Goods Realty Building business flourished from the unfortunate destruction that the Great Fire of 1889 left behind. Owner James M. Comstock arrived in Spokane just before the fire and encouraged his associates Robert B. Paterson, James L. Paine and Eugene A. Shadle, to quickly follow him to the Inland Empire.
Needing more space, the Dry Goods Realty Company built a warehouse in 1910 right across the street. This warehouse was deliberately designed to match its existing neighbor. The building before you is mainly a Commercial Style design, however it is sprinkled with Romanesque features. Below the second level belt course is a painting of the Riverfront Park clock tower. The structure also adorns a painted ghost sign for "Bear Brand Hosiery," advertising "Fit for all the family." Spokane Dry Goods Realty Company manufactured men's work clothes and children's clothing on the top floor of their warehouse. During World War II, the building was appropriately (and patriotically) repurposed as a U. S. Army warehouse.
Born in Massachusetts, architect Loren L. Rand came to Spokane in 1888. Rand, one of the first architects to design buildings after the Great Fire of 1889, is responsible for many of Spokane's most memorable buildings and homes. Sadly, most of Loren L. Rand's work has been demolished. A building contractor by the name of Frederic Phair oversaw the construction of the Dry Goods Realty Company. Phair, an Ireland native, also came to Spokane in 1888, where he, along with many others, opened a business rebuilding the city after the fire.