100 years ago in Spokane: Valley irrigation company prepares to auction ‘choice suburban tracts’

May 9, 2019

The Orchard Avenue Irrigation Company was auctioning 129 “choice suburban tracts” of up to 5 acres.

To bring potential buyers to the event (held in a “mammoth tent”), the company was providing free train rides from downtown Spokane as well as a free lunch. A jazz band was scheduled to provide entertainment.

“Come out and enjoy yourself for a day in the country, even if you don’t buy,” said an ad for the auction in the Spokane Daily Chronicle. “The change will do you good.”

Orchard Avenue is a neighborhood in Spokane Valley between Felts Felt and Millwood and Trent Avenue and the Spokane River.

Back then, it was very much in the country. A.E. Gallaher, president of the company, described the neighborhood as extremely engaged, even during the recent war period. While “carrying a full quota of Red Cross work,” residents erected a community hall with a stage and kitchen.

“One hundred and twenty-five houses, each with a profusion of fruit and shade trees, berry bushes and shrubbery, make Orchard Avenue one of the attractive additions to Spokane,” Gallaher said.

He said businessmen and professionals were eager for a touch of country life.

A hundred years later, the Orchard Avenue Irrigation District No. 6 serves a population of about 3,300, said Michael Klein Sr., the district’s distribution manager.

Jim Kershner is on sabbatical.