AKA: Pennington Hotel, Spokane, WA

Structure Type: built works - dwellings -public accommodations - hotels

Designers: Cutter and Malmgren, Architects (firm); Kirtland Kelsey Cutter (architect); Karl Gunnar Malmgren (architect); Gustav Albin Pehrson (architect)

Dates: constructed 1913-1914

807 West Sprague Avenue
Riverside, Spokane, WA 99201-3907

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Designed by the noted Spokane architectural firm of Cutter and Malmgren, the Davenport Hotel rapidly became one of the West's most elegant inns, earning universal praise for its accommodations and food. The hotel stood next door to the Davenport Hotel, first opened in 1890, which became a big success during course of the next two decades. The Davenport Hotel closed in 1984, but avoided demolition and was restored in 2002 by a new owner, Walter Worthy, who established his Davenport Collection hotel group thereafter.

Building History

Llewellyn Marks "Louis" Davenport relocated to Spokane in 1889 to assist his uncle, Elijah Davenport, at his Pride of Spokane restaurant. Unfortunately, Louis worked there only a short time, when his uncle's business burned in the disastrous Fire of 08/04/1889 that consumed 32 city blocks. Following the fire, Louis Davenport operated his temporary Waffle Foundry restaurant in a tent on the remains of the Pride of Spokane. The next year, he opened the first iteration of the Davenport Restaurant on the southwest corner of West Sprague Avenue and South Post Street.

He followed his success with the Davenport Restaurant with a hotel in 1914. The hotel stood to west of the Mission Revival restaurant, the two occupying the entire block bounded by West Sprague Avenue on the north, South Post Streeton the east, West 1st Avenue on the south and South Lincoln Street on the west. The hotel reflected its owner's relentlessly innovative character, featuring many technologically up-to-date amenities, including state-of-the-art elevators operated by compressed air; the hotel contained 405 rooms, billiard rooms, air-conditioning, an hvac system designed to clean and heat the air, a men's cafe, a ballroom, and an organ in the lobby mezzanine; the lobby itself was known as "Hall of Doges" and was illustrated in early-20th-century postcards festooned with flowers and vines; the hotel occupied the entire city block; construction began 09/1912; the Otis Elevator Company was scheduled to install its elevators on 09/01/1913, and the entire building was scheduled for completion on 03/01/1914.

The Davenport Hotel opened on 09/01/1914, instantly becoming one of the most celebrated establishments west of the Mississippi River.

It closed in 1984 because of problems meeting updated local building codes.

In recent years, efforts have been made to restore design credit for the Davenport Hotel to one of Cutter and Malmgren's principal employees, Gustav A. Pehrson (1882-1968). Pehrson served as fthe firm's superintendent of construction for the Davenport Hotel and was intimately connected to the day-to-day details of its design and construction. An extensive article by Nicholas Deshais in the Spokane Spokesman-Review said of the Davenport Hotel's development: "By the time Hotel magazine ran a long profile of the Davenport Hotel in April 1917, the landmark in downtown Spokane had been open just a few years. Besides Davenport, the article assigned credit for this 'remarkable new refreshment palace' that caused any who entered it to exclaim in 'surprise and delight at its rare beauty' to one man: Gustav Albin Pehrson. 'He has worked early and late in the consummation of these plans, and is responsible for many of the unusual architectural features and pleasingly harmonious effects obtained,' the article said of the Swedish-born architect. Ten years later, the April 17, 1927 edition of The Spokesman-Review ran a brief profile of Pehrson, who had made Spokane home two decades before. Not only had Pehrson been superintendent of construction of the Davenport more than a decade before, the article said, but he 'also had charge of the designing and making of plans.'" (See Nicholas Deshais, Spokane Spokesman-Review.com, "Out of Cutter’s shadow: Architect Gustav Pehrson’s family hopes to see his name connected to his famous achievement – the Davenport Hotel," published 11/24/2019, accessed 09/03/2021.)

Building Notes

E.C. Kropp postcard #2241 depicts the exterior of the Mission Revival Styled restaurant. This postcard from c. 1909 shows potted plants and a pergola standing on the sidewalk outside the restaurant.

A J.L. Robbins Company postcard #394 illustrated a view of the restaurant's corner clock tower, with the red-brick hotel looming many stories above in the background. The Isabella Dining Room--with its ornate plaster friezes and column capitals--operated in the hotel/retaurant complex c. 1910.

National Register of Historic Places (Listed 1975-09-05): 75001874 NRHP Images (pdf) NHRP Registration Form (pdf)

PCAD id: 5473