The Age of Elegance 1890-1910
Spokane was lucky. It had two natural advantages, Spokane Falls, and it was really close to the mines. When miners and loggers and railroaders needed clothes or something to eat or equipment, they came to Spokane. Some people became millionaires almost over night.
With all the money coming in, Spokane became a rich town. This was the start of the 1890s and it was called the "Age Of Elegance".
Kirtland Kelsey Cutter was one of the greatest architects of Washington. He was born on August 20, 1860 in East Rockport, Ohio. His father William Cutter was a banker, along with Kirtland’s mother, Caroline Atwater Pease. He also had a grandfather, Jared Potter Kirtland, who was a prominent doctor in Ohio. The whole family lived with his grandfather, uncles and aunts on Whippoorwill Farm, near Cleveland. At age 14 Kirtland went to Brooks Military Academy, which was a new high school in Cleveland. He spent five years there.
Kirtland thought he wanted to be an artist, so he enrolled in the Art Student’s League in New York City. He continued his art studies in Europe in Dresden, Germany, and Florence, Italy. While in Europe he met Austin Corbin, and they became good friends. Austin’s father was from Spokane and was a successful railroad man. Kirtland returned from Europe convinced that “architecture is the finest of the useful arts,” and that he would make a better architect than artist. His parents begged Kirtland not to move to Spokane, but Kirtland wanted to move west with Austin Corbin.
Kirtland journeyed to Spokane Falls on the Northern Pacific Railroad in 1886 and lived with his uncle, Horace Cutter. Horace was a officer at the First National Bank and president of Spokane Savings Bank. Kirtland drew beautiful homes because of his art schooling. It was hard to get started in architecture career without formal training, though. His first partner was John Poetz. Unlike most architects, Kirtland didn’t worry about the supports of the house or building he designed, Kirtland let his partner engineer and build the structure of the house or building. The Glover mansion amazed townspeople because it had three indoor bathrooms.
In 1889 in his biography he writes “my darkest day” the great fire of Spokane occurred. Almost everybody turned to Kirtland to rebuild the homes and buildings that were burned or damaged in the fire. He was largely responsible for rebuilding the burnt town after the fire. He did a great deal of work. “He didn’t just rebuild the city, he made it six times more beautiful” said the Spokesman Review. Kirtland Kelsey Cutter began to be known all around the Northwest. One of the reasons why Kirtland Cutter’s homes looked so nice is because he wanted to have his homes and buildings fit in with the surroundings of them. He did a great deal of work in Spokane, and in Seattle, Tacoma, Boise, and some other Northwest communities. In 1894, his partner John Poets left, and his new partner was Karl G. Malmgren. After 38 years in Spokane, Kirtland moved to California, Long Beach in 1923. He died in Long Beach, California on September 29, 1939, at the age of 79.
Kirtland Kelsey Cutter received many honors, among them, a medal for his Idaho state building in the world’s fair of 1893. He was also chosen as a member of the Jury for the competition for the Washington State Capitol, and received the first prize award by the Southern California Chapter in 1927 for his work on the Palos Verdes section. Some of his notable buildings include: The Davenport Hotel, the Spokane Club, the Sherwood building, the Silver Grill of the Spokane hotel, the Washington Water Power building, the Chronicle building, the R.B. Porter home, the Patrick Welsh home (also known as the James Glover home), the Patrick Clark home, the A. B. Campbell home, and before I put you to sleep from all these listings I’ll just say, and many more. Kirtland Cutter designed over 30 mansions, and many office buildings still used today. And that’s Kirtland Cutter!
Mathews, Henry. Kirtland Cutter: Architect in Land of Promise. U of WA Press, 1998, pg 19-35.
“ Rebuilt City.” The Spokesman-Review. October 28, 1962.
Patrick F. Clark
This is the elaborate house of Patrick F. Clark. "Patsy" Clark and Mr. Cutter roamed the world for the house's furnishings. Mrs. Clark met her callers in a room with golden lined chairs and silk curtains. The library rug was said to have cost $17,000 and the grandfather clock was made in England and the chandeliers were ordered from Tiffany of New York.
The Patrick Clark house also had a combination of carriage house and stable . It housed two Shetland ponies, two Newfoundland dogs and a wicker basket cart , a driving horse for the two wheel cart, two lighter horses for the Spider, two heavy horses for the Landau, and a cow. In those days there was no real dairy, so most of the elite kept their own cow.
The Clark's lived a story book life and he and his partner are said to have piled up $13,000,000 on the house.
*photo from inside of Patrick Clark House, NW Museum of Arts and Culture Archives.
The Campbell House
The Campbell House is a very special historical landmark for Spokane. THe home of Amasa Basaliel Campbell was designed by Kirtland K. Cutter and built in 1898.
It has an exterior of stucco, sandstone, brick and heavy timber. It has nineteen rooms and nine fireplaces. There was a reception room, grand hall, drawing room, and a dining room, bedrooms and game room and a home office for Amasa.
Amasa Campbell was born on April 6th, 1845 in Salem, Ohio and was the youngest of ten children. He moved to Wallace, Idaho, and soon became the owner of a mine with his partner John A. Finch. Not long after that, he married Grace Fox and they had a daughter named Helen. After Helen was born, May 14, 1892, the Campbells moved to Spokane, to this house in the Browne's Addition.
At the age of 67, Amasa died in 1912. Twelve years later, Grace died leaving Helen the only Campbell left.
It is 100 years old and has been a museum since 1925. Helen Campbell Powell donated the house to the Eastern Washington State Historical Society in honor of her mother, Grace Fox Campbell. It is located at 2316 W. First next to the NW Museum of Arts and Culture, the MAC. The house was restored in the 60's and that restoration cost $861,168!
Pioneer Spokane had two fashionable residential areas (the areas of mansions) - Seventh Avenue known as "the Hill", and "Brownes Addition" where the Campbell house is. There was a lot of social rivalry between the two sections and each looked down upon the other with a sense of haughty superiority. When making calls, there were very strict rules. The ladies on "The Hill" would call on the ladies in Browne's Addition on Thursdays, and vice versa on Wednesdays.
Louis Davenport and the Davenport Hotel
Louis M. Davenport contributed more than anyone to the Age of Elegance in Spokane. He was one of the world's hotel geniuses and was known far and wide.
There is a romantic story about Louis Davenport arriving in Spokane just before the Great Fire with $1.50 in his pocket and his opening Davenport's Waffle Foundry right after the Great Fire of 1889. However current research indicates that he arrived in March, 1889, and worked with his Uncle Elijah, who was well established in the restaurant and meat market business. Elijah was the proprietor of the Pride of Spokane Restaurant. The first Waffle Foundry was in a tent, but by 1890, Davenport's Restaurant, a second establishment, was located in the Wilson block where the hotel is now located. Davenport's Restaurant set out to be the finest restaurant in the city. He gained respect as an excellent business man.
Beginning in 1906 many of Spokane's wealthy business leaders, began planning the "finest Hotel in the Northwest." They approached Louis Davenport to manage the hotel. Even with the financing of Spokane's wealthy business leaders, Louis Davenport had to sell his new home on 8th Avenue to free up capital for the hotel. The 12 story hotel was built next to the restaurant. The hotel was built in 1914 at a cost of 1.75 million dollars. It was a masterpiece at the time. The restaurant was like an auditorium. It was always filled after shows and speeches. Later Mr. Davenport built one of the grandest ballrooms of the hotel, called the Hall of Doges, over his restaurant. Doges means "very important". The architecture and style of this room was Venetian Gothic. Here Spokane citizens dressed in their finest clothes waltzed the night away in the grandest style. The dances started at 9 o'clock and ended at 1 am so people could catch the nightowl street car home.
*Photo from Davenport Hotel Archives
The Davenport Hotel was designed by Kirtland K. Cutter. In the construction of the hotel over 32 million pounds of steel was used.
For years the hotel kept in the tradition of never letting the fire die out in the lobby fireplace - summer or winter. It also kept the tradition of washing the coins every night as they received them.
Some very famous people stayed at the Davenport Hotel: Bing Crosby, Bill Cosby, Amelia Earhart, Babe Ruth, Bob Barker, Theodore Roosevelt, 26th President, William H. Taft, 27th President, Warren G. Harding, 29th President, Harry S. Truman, 33rd President, John F. Kennedy, 35th President, Lyndon Johnson, 36th President, Richard M. Nixon, 37th President.
The Davenport Hotel, closed for several years, has been magnificently restored to its beauty and position as the finest hotel in Spokane.
Resources: Bamonte, Tony and Suzanne. "Long Held Myths & Misconceptions About the Davenprt Hotel." Nostaligia Magazine, January 2002.
Primary source realia (Hotel Ads, Brochures, Menus) from NW Room of Spokane Public Library. I am excited to see Walt Worthy restoring this room to its original glory. I hope that one day I can get dressed up and pretend I am re-living the times past.
photos by permission NW Museum of Arts & Culture Archives
Campbell House ca. 1900 L87-386
Campbell House Library ca1898 L91-159.8
copyright (c) 1997, Discovery School.
All rights reserved.
Reports completed 1997, 1998, 2000, 2003, and 2009.
Revised: September 22, 2002; March 18, 2004; October 3, 2009
Last modified on July 29, 2011