Spokane History Timeline

Spokane - Wild West! - 1897

Duffy and Butler Saloon

Behind me is the building where Duffy and Butler's Saloon was located. This building was built 1891, the saloon was opened in 1897. In the late 1890's Spokane was a tough town. It was almost like " Wild West" outside the saloon.
A famous writer by the name of Hamlin Garland from New York City was visiting Spokane. He asked the Marshal, Joel Warren, where to look for some "Wild West" action. The Marshal told him to just hang around and watch the front of Duffy and Butler's Saloon.

That Saturday night, a Texan came out of the saloon and started shooting. He gunned down two elderly men before the Marshal could get there. A bullet clipped a button right off the Marshal's coat before he could draw his gun.

The Marshal shot the Texan. The Marshal said, "Did you see that, Hamlin?"
"I darn near felt it. Those bullets were bouncing all over the lobby," Hamlin replied, and then he took the next train back to New York City.*

*Cochran, Barbara Fleischman. Exploring Spokane's Past: Tours to Historical Sites, Rev. Ed. Fairfield, WA: Ye Galleon Press, 1984.


Inside Duffy & Butler

Jacob "Dutch" Goetz and Harry Baer helped one of those lucky people who struck it rich in the mines and discovered Bunker Hill and Sullivan Mine. They moved to Spokane in 1894 and built a 4 story building which had a Hotel, Casino, dance hall, bar, Variety Hall, Turkish bath and even a section for down-and-outers to stay when they came to town.

They advertised it as the "Finest in the West". They had 144 employees. There were barkeepers, waiters, people to run the games, barbers, bootblacks, actors and actresses.

To get on the town's good side, they would give up one room of the casino on Sunday. They would let any minister use it for services. Any who attended could get free drinks afterwards. Eventually the casino became so bold that everyday at 4 pm outside, there were ladies strutting while men looked from all the windows of other buildings on the street.

copyright (c) 1997, Discovery School
All rights reserved.
Report created in 1997.
Revised: September 22, 2002; 10/4/2009
Last Modified on July 31, 2011