Originally built in 1909, the Riverfront Park Travel Apartments building was constructed as a single room occupancy hotel (SRO). Our hotel, like many other SROs, offered each guest a room with a sink in the corner and a single light hanging from the ceiling. Each floor had one bathroom which included showers for the occupants of that floor, generally single men or men on temporary leave of their families looking for work.
SROs were designed to temporarily house the thousands of workers who traveled to Spokane looking for work in the mines and logging camps in eastern Washington and northern Idaho. The ground floor was home to various saloons and gambling establishments, and for many years was a center of laborers from Greece. Our hotel was in the center of an international district which housed different ethnic groups, often segregated by buildings. Several of these represented groups were Japanese, Chinese, Italian, Greeks, Croats and Serbs.
Spokane during this era was the center of a vast area of rich mining and logging activities. The number of available jobs in the surrounding area provided for a large influx of immigrants. As an example, between 1886 and 1889 the population of Spokane grew from 3,500 to 20,000 people. Even more astounding, between 1900 and 1910 the population exploded from 36,000 to 104,000 people, thus leading to the construction of many SROs, like our building, in 1909.
While providing necessary housing, SROs also provided a way for immigrants to meld into American society and civic involvement. The upper three floors of our building remained SRO rooms until the 1970s, when they were converted to commercial office space for businesses. In 2021, our building was remodeled and Riverfront Park Travel Apartments was established, bringing the building a little closer to it’s original roots.
Today, Riverfront Park Travel Apartments provides a level of luxury and comfort that would have been almost unimaginable to most of the occupants of the SRO in the early years. We recognize, however, that it was the labor of these industrious, hardworking, and ambitious immigrants who literally built not only the city of Spokane, but in a similar manner, our entire nation. We honor them and the legacy of their dreams. The brick walls of this building hold many stories of those who left their homelands to build a better life. We hope that your stay within these walls brings you and your family rest, rejuvenation, and enjoyment.
Riverfront Park Travel Apartment Owners and Team Members