The Davenport Hotel charged $1.50 for a room on opening day, September 1, 1914. That rate won’t be seen again, yet bargains are still to be found at this historic grande dame, named on the Conde Nast Top 100 List and by National Geographic Traveler as one of the 129 Hotels We Love.
The $3 million hostelry, born out of the vision of Louis Davenport, was the embodiment of the Gilded Age. Sparkling with crystal, gleaming with highly polished woods and gilded with gold, this grand gathering place announced Spokane’s newfound wealth and importance in the Pacific Northwest based on its timber, mining and railroad resources, and the river that runs through it.
Chandeliers cost $10,000 each, Lindbergh lunched there in 1927, and Amelia Earhart spoke there just three years before she vanished. Today’s wine cellar of the hotel’s Palm Court Grill was once the Ladies’ Withdrawing Room, where women without an escort were required to retire, lest they be branded “loose!”
These are just a few of the tantalizing nuggets to be gathered on the hotel’s guided history tour. You’ll also learn about the ghost that still haunts The Dav, discover a marriage proposal carved into the elaborate ceiling, and visit the Hall of the Doges, Grandest Ballroom in the West and modeled after the original splendid Palace of the Doges in Venice.
Masterpiece of architect Kirtland Cutter, this crown jewel of Spokane — whose sumptuous lobby was once considered the city’s “living room” — came frighteningly close to demolition following tough economic times. After shutting its doors for 15 years, the by-then-derelict hotel was saved by an outpouring of community support coupled with the right buyers. Local entrepreneurs Walt and Karen Worthy purchased the entire city block for $6.5 million, then spent $38 million to restore every magnificent detail of the legendary property.
The Davenport Hotel reopened in 2002 with 283 rooms; a new 328-room Davenport Hotel Tower opened five years later, followed by the Davenport Lusso in a historic 19th century building. This year saw the opening of the 716-room Davenport Grand Hotel. Check out the Davenport Hotel Collection
Active community involvement, this time led by the Spokane Symphony also saved the Martin Woldson Theater at The Fox from the wrecking ball in 2000. The result is a splendid art deco venue that reopened in the fall of 2007 in the heart of Spokane’s downtown Davenport Arts District. The $31 million renovation dazzles, recalling the theater’s heyday when such stars as Katherine Hepburn, Frank Sinatra and Spokane’s own homeboy Bing Crosby performed here. Originally completed in 1931, the theater was designed by Robert Reamer and decorated by Anthony Heinsbergen, one of Hollywood’s most renowned interpreters of art deco.
Both The Davenport Hotel and the Fox Theater are key anchors of Spokane’s compact and walkable district featured in the Downtown Heritage Walk Brochure. Pick up a copy at the Visitor Information Center or online, then explore at your own pace to enjoy the best of Spokane architecture, history and heritage.