By the early 1900s, automobiles were more affordable than ever and the middle class clamored for new roads. US Highway 10 was known at different times as the Sunset Highway, The North Pacific Highway, the Appleway and the Yellowstone Trail. Spanning over 2000 miles, it began in Detroit and ended in Seattle. Its route through the Spokane Valley followed modern day Sprague Avenue and brought travelers through the small communities of Dishman, Opportunity, Veradale and Greenacres on its way east into Idaho.
Motels and restaurants popped up all along the highway, inviting people to stop and stay awhile. Travelers could enjoy delicious meals at establishments like Madge's Chicken Dinner Inn (4928 E. Sprague) and then rest their weary bodies at The Paul Bunyan Motel (4602 E. Sprague). The road was also dotted with at least eight Triple XXX Thirst Stations. Triple XXX was a brand of root beer produced by The Galveston Brewing Company. The buildings were shaped like barrels and, in the later years, sold beer and wine in addition to root beer.
Most of these businesses ended their heyday in the late 1960s, becoming used car lots and parking lots when Interstate 90 rerouted traffic, but one remains in business. The Park Lane Motel, formerly known as Bert Nims Auto Court, still operates at its original location, 4412 East Sprague.
Although you're actually traveling US Highway 10 when you drive on Sprague Avenue today, most of it is just a memory for auto travel. You can walk along a surviving original strip of US 10 at the Idaho/Washington border where it is part of the Centennial Trail. As you walk, if you look to the left of the trail every one hundred feet or so, you can see the dates that indicate when that section was built, stamped into the concrete.