Miller Building/Hotel Lusso Spokane

 Miller Block c1903
The Spokesman-Review

Young William J. Carpenter AIA arrived in Spokane, Washington in 1889 at the beginning of a building boom. As a talented and energetic English architect in his mid-twenties he received immediate design commissions.  In the two short years he practiced there he is credited with the known design of some 23 structures; of these 14 were residential, and the balance commercial.  Historical Preservationists have been active in the area and many are still extant in 2011.

 Several of his commercial buildings are prominent in downtown Spokane, among them the Miller Block/Lusso Hotel.  It is listed on the Spokane Register of Historic Places and on May 4, 1998 was listed on the National Register of Historic Places (No. 98000370

 The Spokane Historic Properties website  describes it as:

 The Miller Block is significant for both its architecture and its role in Spokane’s emergence as the urban center of the Inland Empire. Designed by architect William Carpenter, it was built shortly after the Great Fire of 1889 and is one of the last remaining examples of his important contribution to Spokane’s Age of Elegance. The Miller Building’s graceful brickwork and rich surface detail introduced to Spokane a form of Richardsonian Romanesque architecture that bore the imprint of the emerging Chicago School and Louis Sullivan. Occupying a particularly desirable location, the Miller Block also played a role in Spokane’s economic growth in the decades of unparalleled growth that followed the fire. More recently, the building has been renovated and, together with the Whitten Block, next east, houses a luxury hotel, the Lusso.


From Historic Spokane web site

The original building for Mr. Stanley Miller housed retail stores on the first floor and residential rooms above. The handsome brick front building was four stories, with a footprint 50 X 85 feet.  The interior was finished in native oak. Following this project Mr. Carpenter designed the original Davenport Restaurant building across the street at 807 W. Sprague for Louis Davenport.  That building is now part of the Davenport Hotel complex, as is the Hotel Lusso.

In 1914 the interior was redesigned and remodeled for use by Sherman Clay & Company, piano dealers of San Francisco.  All four floors were leased for use as general offices, sound recording studios and elaborate showrooms.  Subsequent occupants included Spokane Falls Gas Light Company and the New Jersey Rooming House.

In 1924 tenants included Western Union Telegraph, Spokane Northern Telegraph and District Telegraph, The Arthur Murray Dance Studio, and various business and professional offices.

As mentioned above, in 1985 the Miller Block and the adjoining Whitten Block were combined and commenced business as the Hotel Lusso.  The property has recently been purchased by the owners of the Davenport Hotel (807 W. Sprague Ave.), so two of Mr. Carpenter’s buildings have been symbolically reunited . (I hope there are no plans to physically unite them with a walkway over Sprague Avenue.)


Hotel Lusso 2011

 ( Linda Yeomans of Historic Preservation Planning & Design, Spokane, contributed to this article)


1 Comment »

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  1. My husband and I are here at Hotel Lusso for the first time…love it…very elegant.

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