Liberty Building History
In The Beginning (Pre 1908)
The corner of Main and Washington was listed as a lumber yard in 1893. Before that it was the site of the City Market Grounds, the bustling and colorful equivalent of today’s farmers’ markets. When the Great Fire of 1889 erupted the lot served “as a fire break to stop the spread across Washington Street.”
Corner of Main and Washington Pre 1908. Courtesy of the Spokane Public Library.
Kemp and Hebert (1908 – 1939)
Built in 1908, Kemp and Hebert was one of Spokane’s first department stores. Charles Kemp and Henry Hebert were drawn to Spokane’s post fire economy. The company grew quickly into one of the largest retail and wholesale businesses in the Northwest.
Kemp and Hebert Department Store
Spokane Army Air Forces Depot (1942-1944)
The Great Depression was rough on Kemp & Hebert. It went out of business in 1939 and the building stood vacant until 1942 when it was drafted into the service. It became the new headquarters for the Army’s Spokane Air Forces Depot, the precursor to what is now Fairchild Air Force Base.
Spokane Army Air Depot moving into the Liberty Building
Liberty Furniture (1944-1986)
The Levitch brothers, Abe and Meyer, bought the building in 1944 and moved their Liberty Furniture Store to the site and operated a thriving retail business until closing in 1986.
Liberty Building (1993-Present)
In 1993 Shannon Ahern and Chris O’Harra bought the Kemp & Hebert building and renamed it the Liberty Building. With the 1994 remodel Auntie’s Bookstore moved into the building and the first Uncle’s Games was opened.
Fourth Floor of the Liberty Building Under Construction before the atrium was opened back up.
Liberty Building Today
The Liberty Building as seen today.