From the earliest years of white settlement, Spokane has been an industrial center. Powered by the falls, much of this industry processed the raw materials of the surrounding countryside for export to the Pacific ports or the Midwest. However, Spokane’s industries also provided needed finished goods to its own citizens and those of surrounding communities.
This collection illustrates Spokane’s industrial role with a series of images focused on major and minor industries. Dependent on the power of the Spokane River, sawmills and flour mills feature prominently but so do breweries, metal fabrication and furniture making.
These images were largely taken prior to World War II but a few images show factories and warehouses following their postwar closure.
Photographs for this digital collection are drawn from the photo files of the Northwest Room.