The Hoyt Smokestack

A Relic From the Blossoming of Spokane’s Flower Industry

“I have faith to believe that we have only just begun to see the development of this wonderful section of the United States and I am proud indeed to have been able to add my mite in bringing about these remarkable changes.” - Frederick V. Hoyt

If you look just west of I-90 on Sunset Hill you will see a brick smokestack standing taller and older than the trees around it. On the stack, white bricks proudly spell out “Hoyt,” the last name of the two brothers that founded the greenhouses on that spot; Frederick V. Hoyt and William S. Hoyt. Frederick first visited Spokane in 1882 when the population of the city was 1200. He was a pastor who built several churches while he lived here intermittently. William moved to the area later after being asked to run a flour mill on Havermale Island. In 1894 both brothers joined forces and “Hoyt Brothers Floral Co.” was born.

The business grew slowly but steadily. The first greenhouse they built was in 1900 followed by several more, eventually reaching 6 in total. They produced enough flowers to merit a dedicated shop that they ran on Post and Riverside. In order for the flowers to survive all four of Spokane's seasons, the greenhouses required heating. This was done by heating water with a coal furnace and pumping it through pipes that ran beneath the soil. A few smokestacks were made for this purpose but the largest one, and only one that still stands today, was built in 1916. The Hoyt brothers worked to supply flowers for the ever increasing number of weddings, funerals and other large events that signified just how fast the town was growing.

After managing the greenhouses for 40 years the brothers sold the company in 1929 to the Moncalvos, a family of Italian immigrants who had worked in the greenhouses. But the greenhouse's legacy did not stop there. In the first half of the 1900s the Spokane flower industry grew beyond just filling the needs of Spokanites. The well developed railroad industry allowed Spokane florists to provide flowers for the entire region. In 1940, Spokane even became the 4th largest producer of flowers west of the Mississippi with 20 acres of flowers under glass. Many of the 35 greenhouses that contributed to that number were owned by Italian immigrant families just like the Moncalvos.

Severino Moncalvo ran the business until his son, Rudy, inherited it in 1970. It continued to produce flowers until it was sold in 1983 to Rothrock, a development company. The complex was dismantled soon after with the smokestack left as the only marker of its existence. The stack now stands alone, surrounded by highways and residential areas. Its eroded top still reaches far into the air, a waymarker inviting people to appreciate the deeper history of Spokane.



2014 S. Royal St Spokane, WA ~ Be mindful that it is located on private property, but can be viewed from the edge of the road.