The Hotel Aberdeen

and Carrie Harris

In a time before women had the right to vote, Carrie Harris was financially independent and a successful businesswoman.

Developed by Carrie Harris, the Hotel Aberdeen is a corner-lot brick building that captures the stories of working-class Spokanites who came to Spokane at the turn of the 20th century to work in growing regional industries such as mining, lumber, and railroad. The three-story structure was built in 1898 as single room occupancy housing (SRO) in Spokane’s East Downtown Historic District, an area characterized by warehouses and commercial buildings with working-class affordable living accommodations on the upper floors and businesses catering to those residents on the ground floor.

The Hotel Aberdeen was home to working class Spokanites, but it was also an investment property for Carrie Harris, a female property developer who was active in the first decade of the 20th century. After divorcing her husband in 1900, Carrie Harris, now thirty-seven years old, quickly put her money to work. She moved to Los Angeles, California with her daughter where she had a stately home built for herself. She then began developing single family homes near the University of Southern California. 

Simultaneously to her real estate ventures in Los Angeles, Carrie Harris was accumulating and developing property in Spokane. In 1903 she developed the high-end seven-story Hotel Victoria in
Downtown Spokane’s central business district. The Hotel Victoria, demolished in 1979, was a stunning Second Empire influenced hotel with a mansard roof and second floor balcony wrapped with wrought-iron railings above the sidewalk. In 1906, Harris fiananced another high profile development, the Westminster Aparments which are still extant in Browne's Addition.

When Nelson Durham’s History of the City of Spokane and Spokane Country Washington was published in 1912, just one year after Carrie Harris died, he explained that her real estate investments made her “one of the wealthiest woman in Spokane.” He continues his praise saying that she was “the brightest businesswoman in Spokane” and “one of the most beloved women of the city.”