Traces of the Past: Mohawk "Block"

Historic Buildings in Unexpected Places

Tucked away in a corner of this odd-shaped parking lot, behind the historic Frank's Diner, is a sliver of Spokane history. Actually, a large granite block of history.

At the west end of the parking lot is a retaining wall made of mismatched bricks and pieces of salvaged buildings. On the bottom row is a large granite stone with the engraved (and upside down!) letters “MOHA."

This stone was once a part of the facade of the Mohawk Building, which stood on Riverside Avenue between Howard and Stevens. The Mohawk was built in 1915 to replace an earlier building that had been destroyed by fire. The Mohawk was built of terra cotta and brick by architect John K. Dow. It was most notable as the longtime home of one Spokane’s oldest businesses, Dodson’s Jewelers.

In 2007 developers made plans to tear down the Mohawk, and despite outcries from the historic preservation community, the building was razed. Dodson’s Jewelers moved their shop and iconic clock across the street.

Historic photographs of the Mohawk show that this is indeed the same stone that stood over the entrance for nearly 100 years. The Mohawk was demolished in favor of a surface parking lot, but through a quirk of fate one piece still remains--here in another parking lot.