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Preserve America is a national initiative in cooperation with the Advisory Council on Historic Preservation; the U.S. Departments of Defense, Interior, Agriculture, Commerce, Housing and Urban Development, Transportation, and Education; the National Endowment for the Humanities; the President's Committee on the Arts and Humanities; and the President's Council on Environmental Quality.

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Preserve America Community:
Spokane, Washington

Spokane, Washington (population 195,629), is the largest city between Seattle and Minneapolis and the second largest in the State. Native American Spokanes, meaning "Children of the Sun," first lived in the region. Fur traders arrived in 1807 and trading posts and missions followed.

In 1871, two cattlemen settled at Spokane Falls, now the heart of Spokane, and by 1881 the Northern Pacific Railroad reached the area, making it more accessible. Spokane, then known as Spokane Falls, was incorporated in 1881 with 350 residents. The city suffered its biggest setback in 1889, when a fire ravaged downtown, destroying 32 blocks.

In 1974, Spokane hosted a World's Fair, "Expo '74," whose lasting legacy is Riverfront Park. Once a highly used rail yard, the property was converted into a park to accommodate the fair. Spokane boasts 22 National Register Historic Districts and many individually listed properties, and in 2004 was recognized as an All American City.

In 1898, Amasa Campbell, who made his fortune in mining, built a large Tudor Revival house in Spokane. His daughter gave the estate to the Eastern Washington State Historical Society in 1924 after her mother's death. Campbell House became a community museum, and after a new museum building opened in 1960 on the Campbell House east lawn, the house began a return to its former "Age of Elegance."

From 1984-2001, the Campbell House complex, including structures, landscape, interior design, technological systems, and furnishings was restored, and today it operates as a house museum interpreting life at the turn of the 20th century. Its National Council on Public History award-winning participatory tour program takes the form of a historical novel to introduce the early years of Campbell House and its owners, as interpreters transform visitors into "period characters" associated with the Campbells.

The 1913 city hall was used until the city's centennial year of 1981, and is now home to restaurants and shops. The new city hall is located in a renovated, 1920s-era Montgomery Ward building.

Residents and visitors alike can experience the renaissance of downtown with a visit to the restored Davenport Hotel and the adaptively reused Steam Plant Grill. Renovation of the 1931 Art Deco Fox Theater as a regional Performing Arts Center has received Save America's Treasures funding, and is well underway.

Spokane's Neighborhood Business District Revitalization for Centers and Corridors program is a cooperative venture between three city departments: Planning Services, Historic Preservation, and Economic Development. The program supports economic growth and development in Spokane neighborhood business districts, an important part of the social and economic fabric of the city.

Existing commercial buildings, public facilities, and housing stock are valuable assets in each neighborhood. Because of their historic heritage and cultural resources, each district possesses a unique "sense of place" that can deliver services and retail in an authentic and highly desirable environment.

A 2004 Memorandum of Understanding between the City of Spokane Parks and Recreation Department and the Heritage Gardens Trust created a formal agreement to work towards the preservation, restoration, management, and endowment of the Moore-Turner Heritage Gardens.

The gardens will provide the community and its visitors with an educational and historical resource illustrating how Spokane's most notable residents lived in the late 1800s to mid-1900s. They also will provide a permanent and significant tour and demonstration site for school children, college students, citizens, and visitors—a model for environmental education and conservation.

For more information

Spokane City/County Historic Preservation Department: www.historicspokane.org

Spokane Preservation Advocates: www.spokanepreservation.org

National Historic Districts: www.historicspokane.org/vtour_nationalhistoricdistricts.htm

Fox Theater renovation project: www.spokanesymphony.org/ind.php?page=theproject

Corbin and Moore-Turner Heritage Gardens project: www.heritagegardens.org

National Register Travel Itinerary: www.cr.nps.gov/nr/travel/aviation

Updated May 26, 2009

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