As I stood with running water at my feet in a darkened tunnel, I realized I was likely one of only a small group of people alive who had stood in this space. I was three stories below the Davenport Hotel ground floor in search of visual confirmation of the famed tunnel system beneath the streets of downtown Spokane.
The project that would lead me into the less-glamorous-than-upstairs-but-equally-interesting bowels of the Davenport Hotel began out of a selfish desire to satisfy my own curious nature. I haven’t lived in Spokane for long (7 years) so when I see an obviously old 10-story grain silo standing in the middle of a busy street (Division and Cataldo) or hear stories of underground tunnels, I want to know more and get inside to see what they’re really like.
I began with just a few leads, places I was personally interested in exploring, but as I began to research these spots the project turned into the proverbial snowball rolling down the hill. Each person I talked to and location I researched led to three more, and many of them seemed tied together by a shared history which turned the project into a fascinating peek into the backstory of Spokane.
There were stories of a river flowing under downtown, fallout shelters, missile silos, brothels, Prohibition-era bars, hidden stairways, ghosts and much more. In the end I settled on four locations that will be familiar to many people in many respects. My hope is that my photographs can reveal something new and both satisfy and pique your own curiosity.
And about that tunnel system connecting downtown — it’s very real. Don’t let anyone tell you otherwise.
Know of a place you’d like us to explore? Email [email protected]