Time travel does not exist. But if you want to see what life was like 100 years ago in Spokane, Washington, all you have to do is make a visit to the gorgeous Davenport Hotel.
Built in 1914 and operated by Louis Davenport, it is located in historic downtown Spokane and contains samples of historical architecture from around the world. Italy, France, Spain, England and Russia – they are all represented here.
Walking into the hotel through the revolving front door and entry way, we were immediately in awe. You can see up two stories to a balcony that goes all the way around the second floor, then on up to the skylights. Medallions decorate the borders of the walls and intricate architectural details can be seen at every turn.
In the middle of the room is a fountain with Koi in it.
One side of the lobby holds large chairs and loveseats for guests to relax in. The other side holds tables for a restaurant, and the fireplace. The fireplace is an important piece of the history of this building. Louis Davenport wanted a fire burning in it at all times, summer or winter, in order to make the place feel like home to guests. He called the Davenport, “Spokane’s living room” and wanted all guests to feel at home.
A story we were told illustrates his philosophy. One day when he was up on the second floor balcony, he looked down and saw a “scruffy” looking couple come in with a paper bag. They were planning to eat their lunch in “Spokane’s living room.” Louis saw them and asked one of his staff, “You see that scruffy looking couple there?” The staff person replied, “Yes.” Louis said, “I want you to go down there and put a while table cloth on their table. And I want you to get them some glasses and pour them some cold glasses of water. And get them some silverware.” He honestly wanted everyone to feel like it was their home.
Antique items are everywhere. Even the elevator has an old light system that shows which floor the elevator is on.
Downstairs is where the pool is located along with a spa and exercise room (don’t worry, this whole area holds modern equipment.) In the hallway leading to the pool though is an original ornate silver water fountain.
The rooms are new and they were large and elegant. Two beds, a desk, chairs and yes, a TV. But there are not the other modern conveniences of a refrigerator and microwave. We didn’t miss them. The bathroom was spacious and felt like a spa with the soaking tub as well as a very large glassed-in shower. Hotel robes were provided for our comfort.
You really don’t want to just stay in your room in this hotel. The beautiful architecture lures you back out with the need to explore every inch and look at every detail. It seemed every time we went back out and looked around we would see another new detail. Exploring the Davenport, we were treated to grand ballrooms with elaborate chandeliers, gold filigree, and beautiful wood floors.
The “Hall of the Doges” was most impressive with its gorgeous painted ceiling.
There were several historical pictures located throughout the hotel. It was an odd feeling to look at a picture from 100 years ago and then look around the hotel and see the exact same details.
The story of the hotel is a true miracle rescue. It had been abandoned in 1985 and was in danger of being demolished in 2000 when Walt and Mary Worthy bought it. They spent $38.5 million dollars and the love and dedication that went into restoring this piece of history, this “living room” for Spokane, truly shows.
Finally, there is one piece of living history at the Davenport, a piece that connects Louis Davenport to today. John is 84 years old and started working at the Davenport when he was 13. He said that Louis Davenport himself showed him the ropes such as how to set up the tables and chairs. When the Worthy’s finished the restoration and reopened the Davenport in 2002, John came back to work. He has no plans to retire any time soon. So if you’re lucky and it’s one of days of the week he works (currently Sunday through Wednesday), you’ll have a chance to meet this charming, friendly man and learn about the Davenport’s history first hand.
People often just drive through Spokane on their way to places like Yellowstone, and we did as well. We had no idea what we were missing. So next time you are driving through Spokane, put the Davenport on your itinerary as a must see. You just might truly feel as if you’ve stepped back in time.
Address: The Davenport is located at 10 S. Post St., Spokane WA 99201