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Spokane College

Spokane, Washington



The 1920 Annual Report of the Norwegian Lutheran Church and the 1909 History of Education in Washington are both available on HathiTrust.  The Spokesman-Reporter, a local Spokane newspaper, covered activities at the college. 



Spokane College was established in 1907 by the Norwegian Lutheran Church of America.  A 1908 advertisement in the Spokane Daily Chronicle lists three bachelor’s degree programs, a three-year graduate law program, a high school program that included manual training and domestic arts, a normal program, and programs in music and commerce, including shorthand.  In 1909 the school was listed as having 20 college students and 180 students, total.  The Spokesman-Reporter lists five college graduates, seven academy graduates and 15 commercial graduates in 1910.  

Around 1918 Spokane College dropped the upper classes, becoming a junior college and preparatory school.  The 1920 Annual Report lists the 1918 enrollment as 132, with 117 of these being academy students.  The Spokesman-Reporter noted that students were publishing a paper, that band and orchestra had been reinstituted, and that the main student group was College Club, which served as an outlet for literary activities.


In 1929 the Lutherans merged colleges on the Pacific Coast, so that Spokane College became a part of Pacific Lutheran College in Tacoma.

Spokane College building. Image from Fra Ungdomsaar;view=1up;seq=193 accessed 9-20-2018

Bricks and Mortar

The Lutherans began fundraising for the new college building in 1906.  Main Building was completed in 1907 for the opening of the college.  Located at the intersection of Grand Boulevard and 29th Avenue near Manito Park, it was the only college building until 1910.  Told that the college lacked funds to build a gymnasium, the students themselves undertook the task of providing one.  Working in sets of four, the students dismantled the buildings of Agricultural Exposition, recycling the lumber for the gymnasium.  It measured 52 x 104 feet, and contained a drill floor, a running track with a balcony seating 200, and dressing rooms for both men and women.


In 1916 the students again undertook to improve the campus by trimming trees and paving a path from the main building to the street and to the gymnasium.


From 1935 to 1942, the vacant buildings were leased to Spokane Junior College.  During World War II, the U.S. Army used Main Building to house soldiers stationed at Fort George Wright.  After being used for apartments until 1969, the building was razed to make way for the Manito Park Shopping Center.


            Team name: Chieftains


A 1907 note shows that while the college had not planned to begin a sports program immediately, the number of talented players on campus prompted them to begin football drills immediately.   That team with a backfield that averaged 145 pounds played games against Blair Business College, Couer d’Alene HS and Houston School.  The 1909 team was disbanded because the parents of three star players forbade them to play.   Football was also discontinued for a while during World War I but was restored in 1920 and played at least through that decade.  


Spokane College teams competed in the Columbia Valley Intercollegiate Conference against Spokane University, Cheney Normal, Columbia (WA) College, and Lewiston Normal of Idaho.


Another sport mentioned in newspaper clippings was baseball. With a gymnasium, Spokane College played basketball and had the conference singles champion in tennis. 




1916 Spokane College basketball team. (Official National Collegiate Athletic Association Basketball Guide, accessed 11-9-2017

Note: Images are used in accordance with their “terms of use” as I understand those terms.  Recopying or republishing these images may be restricted or forbidden.

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