Spokane History Timeline

The Spokane Armory - 1907

The National Guard Armory is located at West 202 Second Avenue in Spokane, Washington. The Spokane Armory was built originally to house the National Guard and weapons in 1907.

Around 1900 the National Guard in Spokane had no permanent quarters. The building of the Spokane armory solved this problem. The armory opened in 1907. It was used to train recruits. The National Guard was originally state militia. They were formed shortly before the Spanish American war. They worked without pay and provided their own materials and supplies. Eventually they were called into federal service for duty in World War I. In 1916, the federal government turned them into the 41st division of the 161st infantry regiment. This eventually became part of the National Guard and a source of pride to Spokane. In Spokane, this regiment responded to many local, state and federal emergencies.

Armory Show
L87-1.4011-34 = General Motors Car Show in the Armory

 

President Woodrow Wilson gave a speech at the Armory to a standing-room only crowd of 4,100 on September 12, 1919. More people lined 23 blocks on the route to welcome him. In the 1920’s and 30’s, Spokane Armory housed political events, car shows, and many other youth events, including high school basketball games and dances.

In 1943, a famous opera singer named Patrice Munsel, who grew up in Spokane, performed for service men from WWII at this armory. Many other youth events took place in the building after the Armory stopped serving its original purpose.

 

In 1957 the armory was remodeled.  It was remodeled so they could have more space for weapons. When it was remodeled they gave it a six thousand square foot banquet room and much other necessary space.

Armory Dinner
L87-1.22627-23 = Chamber of Commerce annual dinner at the Armory, 1923

 

In 1978, the state of Washington decided the National Guard Armory wasn’t worth keeping and voted to sell it. After 70years, the National Guard operations were moved to Geiger Field, and the armory became an empty building. The city of Spokane decided to buy it for $22,714. Although the Spokane community wanted to save it and turn it into a community center to help the youth, elders and handicapped people, they did not succeed.

So, in 1979, the National Guard Armory was leased to the River City Jaycees, a civic group devoted to the support of youth programs. They received permission from the City Council to establish a bingo/casino night and gambling activities to make money. The armory went steadily downhill from that point. Eventually it became commercial real estate. It is now it serves as a place for Laser Quest, Wild Walls, and Snap Security.

 

Bibliography

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Patrice_Munsel
Spokane Daily Chronicle, June 18, 1943,
Spokane Daily Chronicle, February 18, 1986,
Spokane Daily Chronicle, March 4, 1900?-1910?
The Spokesman Review, June 27, 1979,
The Spokesman Review, April 16, 1939,
The Spokesman Review, May 23, 1936,
The Spokesman Review, February 20, 1972,
The Spokesman Review, March 3, 1999,
The Spokesman Review, January 6, 1978,
The Spokesman Review, March 14, 1976,
The Spokesman Review, January 5, 1979,

Photos used with permission from Northwest Museum of Arts & Culture/ Eastern Washington State Historical Society.

L87-1.4011-34 = General Motors Car Show in the Armory
L87-1.22627-23 = Chamber of Commerce annual dinner at the Armory, 1923

copyright (c) 2011, Discovery School.
All rights reserved.
Report created May, 2011.
Last Modified on January 2, 2012