Bump Block and the Hotel Carlyle

Ghost Signs of Spokane Tour - Story 6

This towering structure of brick was one of the first to be built following the Great Fire of 1889. The Bump Block, constructed in 1890, is a seven-story Commercial Style infused with more classical features. This historic building enjoyed a couple of good decades, but fell on hard times during the nationwide economic collapse of 1903. John Hieber, a Spokane businessman, bought the property from the bank 5 years after its foreclosure and expanded the hotel within the year to accommodate the increasing demand for Single Occupancy Rooms in Spokane. If you walk to the west side of the building, you can see the faint line that distinguishes the 1890 construction from the 1909 addition.

The Carlyle Hotel was an early SRO in Spokane. An SRO or single room occupancy is a low cost multiple-tenant building that houses one or two people in individual rooms. SRO tenants, typically working men, shared public bathrooms and kitchens. Due to its severe narrow construction, the Carlyle Hotel has no central light well or ventilation system. This flaw, however, is compensated by the interior rooms' access to exterior windows, a luxury for SROs at this time. These specific storefronts have been occupied almost continuously since 1929 with various grocery markets, restaurants and saloons. Carlyle Personal Care Center, who offers housing services to senior citizens, occupies the structure currently.

This building was designed by a team of well-known local architects. Loren L. Rand and John K. Dow designed the original structure. Herman Preusse and Julius Zittel designed the addition. Rand was born in Massachusetts in 1851. He moved to Spokane in 1888, where he designed luxurious houses and a number of commercial and educational structures. John K Dow was from Minnesota. He came to Spokane in 1889 to take advantage of the opportunities the fire unfortunately presented. Dow is the artist behind many influential buildings in the city. Julius Zittel was born in Germany and came to America at the age of thirteen. Zittel partnered with Herman Preusse, also a German immigrant, and together also designed numerous prominent buildings in Spokane.


Fires across the Nation
Image Courtesy of Spokane Public Library Northwest Room, Spokane Daily Chronicle, Daily times,Bridgeport Herald, The Kalispell Bee, Daily True American, Seattle Great Fire, The Day and The Sun Lewiston Narration by EWU Professor of Geography Dr....
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Herman Preusse
An interview with local historian Jim Price
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