In the city of Spokane, WA, the Davenport Hotel is a hotel. The hotel was built by a group of Spokane businessmen and is named for Louis Davenport, who was the hotel’s first proprietor and oversaw its construction. Kirtland Cutter, an architect, designed the structure in 1914. It was the first hotel in the United States to have air conditioning, a central vacuum system, a pipe organ, and dividing doors in the ballrooms, among its many innovations. It is also the site of the first Crab Louis (named after Louis Davenport) preparation and serving. The hotel is listed on the National Register of Historic Places, indicating its historical importance.

The Historic Davenport Hotel was renamed when developer Walt Worthy restored the Davenport Hotel in 2002. It, along with its three sister hotels, is now part of the Davenport Hotel Collection and operates under that name.

The Davenport Hotel was not designed by Louis Davenport, and it was not built with his money. Instead, a group of important Spokane merchants chose Cutter and Davenport because they believed that the burgeoning city required the construction of a large, attractive hotel to welcome and entertain their visitors. The Davenport Hotel Company was founded in 1912, and work on the site began the following year, taking advantage of the city’s already enviable reputation.

The hotel tower was built in eight months in 1913 with the use of horse carts, steam jacks, and hand tools. There were no significant injuries or deaths among the workers, which was unusual at the time. For their new hotel, which opened in November, Cutter and Davenport combed the globe for ideas and furniture.

Cutter developed settings that were influenced by renowned architects from all across the world, including France, England, and Spain. Davenport prepared to seat his guests upon tables covered in the finest Irish linens from Liddell (whose linens were used on the Titanic) and set with 15,000 pieces of silver, all contributed by his friends and family (the largest private commission ever created by Reed and Barton).

The hotel formally opened for business on September 1, 1914, and a grand opening party was held to honor the occasion from September 17–19, 1914. Since then, the hotel has advertised itself as “one of America’s exceptional hotels,” a position it has held to this day.

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