“There’s nothing like the shelves of an actual physical library when you’re unsure of what it is you’re seeking. It was in the [Inland Northwest Special Collections] that I was steered toward a terrific resource, Jonathan David Knight’s 1991 Masters in History Thesis from Washington State University, The Spokane and Fresno Free-Speech Fights of the Industrial Workers of the World (1909-1911).” – Jess Walter, author of The Cold Millions.
The Inland Northwest Special Collections is home to more than 13,000 items including reference books, maps, directories, periodicals, government documents, and archival materials specific to the history of the Inland Northwest. All are welcome to browse during open hours. In order to preserve the collection for future generations, please note this room has its own security guidelines.
Hours: Closed for Renovation until 2022
Explore Spokane’s history through historic images of the homes, buildings, streets, Indigenous Peoples, and activities in and around the region. A physical photograph collection is also available with staff assistance.
Browse digitized versions of more than 200 hundred Spokane high school yearbooks from the years 1911-1977.
Not sure where to start? Watch introductory videos on researching your house history or using the Library’s digital photo collection and more.
The map collection includes a variety of maps
covering aspects of exploration and development of the region. Some of the finest maps in the collection are those produced for railroad surveys, the Mullan Road, and the Pacific Wagon Roads.
Named after George Washington Fuller, Spokane’s City Librarian from 1911 to 1936, who founded the collection, the collection includes incunabula, kunieform tablets (pictured), bibles, geographies, dictionaries, herbals, natural histories, plus a wide variety of early Americana.
The most frequent question we get in the Inland Northwest Special Collection is from people who want to research their house or other property. Getting to know the history of your house can make you appreciate what has come before and can also be a lot of fun!