Spokane County Courthouse
In 1893, ground was broken to build a new Spokane County courthouse, hoping to stimulate the economy after a financial panic of that year. The Board of County Commissioners opened a design competition, and a prize would be awarded for the best plan. The winning architect was a 29-year-old named W. A. Ritchie. In 1894, building began, using locally manufactured brick for the walls and imported slate shingles for the roof. The building had its official opening on Nov. 20, 1895. The
county’s first public hanging took place in its courtyard five years later on March 30,
1900, when George Webster was hanged for an 1897 murder.
Many say that the courthouse closely resembles two 16th-century chateaux in
France, the Chateau de Chambord and Chateau d'Azay Le Rideau. French Renaissance
design is apparent in the grand towers and finely crafted iron and brickwork. In 2006,
the center tower was renovated and the roof was replaced. Today, the courthouse houses
the offices of the Board of County Commissioners, assessor, treasurer, auditor, clerk, and
Superior Court courtrooms, offices, and support services. NWL
Source: Jaime Mahoney, “Spokane County Courthouse,” Spokane Historical, accessed Aug.
14, 2015, www.spokanehistorical.org/items/show/197. © I S T O