December 12th, 2018
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09/30/2002 - East End Does It the Historic Way

Spokane’s Historic Preservation office is working to make Spokane downtown’s east end into a historic district. The district’s boundaries are not firm as yet, but the Preservation Office hopes to include the area from east of Washington to the warehouse buildings just past Pines; and from the Spokane Falls Boulevard to at least the railroad tracks. Some individual buildings in the area, e.g. The Globe, the Community Building and Luigi’s Restaurant Building, are already on the historic register, but making the whole area an historic district would aid economic development. Tax benefits are available for a historic district which make renovation of vintage buildings much more feasible and attractive.

However, denizens of East Main Street aren’t waiting. Calling themselves ‘The East End’, the whole area has “suddenly” transformed into a neighborhood of shops, restaurants, offices, studios, and attractive dwelling places. And, yes, they have done it the historic, grassroots way that uses neither technology nor broadband connectivity. Small shop owners have taken over storefronts once used as warehouses by salvage operations, cleaned and polished, and have not only opened businesses, but have revitalized a whole section of the city.

Julie Clarke at The Globe was one of the first to recognize the neighborhood’s potential, and The Globe anchors the neighborhood’s east end at the corner of Main and Division. The Globe is one of the few ‘wired’ buildings in the east end.

Revival Lighting currently faces Division, but the owners have acquired the Saranac Hotel mid-block between Browne and Division on Main. The company plans to renovate the storefront, and move their store into the street level space. If the Historic district succeeds, they will develop the now empty upper floors into low-income housing. Abutting the Saranac is the beautifully restored Community Building with the Global Folk Art Store on its street level.

Facing the Saranac across the street is a row of eclectic and interesting shops. The Rocket Coffee House sits between an automotive repair business and Namaska, a ‘new age’ store. Along with the Community Building, Namaska could be a poster child for the area’s capability for beauty. Clean, spacious, and interesting, the store has high ceilings and polished wood floors. FSG Gallery and Yoga Studio nestles next to Namaska, and teacher and proprietor, Elizabeth McElveen, even lives upstairs. Hattie’s Attic recently moved into the lineup from a previous location on North Monroe.

Happily the neighborhood still has antiques and junk. Zulu Antiques has taken over the former House of Charity, and has just moved into the ground floor. Frank’s 2nd Hand Store, previously in a Quonset hut on Trent (that was torn down for a WSU Spokane parking lot) is on the corner at Main and Browne.

Few of the businesses have web sites for me to send you to, so you’ll just have to go to the neighborhood, walk around, and see for yourself. A handful of courageous entrepreneurs are making a big difference in a previously neglected area of the Terabyte Triangle, and they aren’t even high tech.

Billie Moreland
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