“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”
“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”
Spokane in Spokane County, Washington — The American West (Northwest)

Post Street Substation

Distributing Electricity

Post Street Substation Marker image. Click for full size.
cmh2315fl via Flickr (CC BY-NC 2.0), August 20, 2014
1. Post Street Substation Marker
Inscription.  Avista's Post Street Substation has distributed power to downtown Spokane since 1909. The substation, still identified by the Washington Water Power signs on its roof (the company changed its name in 1999), is a prominent part of Avista's living history.
“The Post Street substation … is most liberally designed and will suffice for the demands of the system when the load has increased to several times its present value.”- Electrical World, June 1912
The Post Street Substation receives electricity through underground transmission lines from Avista’s nearby Monroe Street and Upper Falls power plants and distributes it throughout the company's electrical system. The substation also serves as the control center for Monroe Street and Upper Falls and houses personnel who oversee operations at both plants.

Over the years the substation has served many other purposes. Originally, some of the station's alternating current (AC) power was converted to direct current (DC) for city streetcars, lighting and industrial uses. “Standby” batteries in the basement were charged at night and used to supplement electricity
Post Street Substation image. Click for full size.
cmh2315fl via Flickr (CC BY-NC 2.0), August 19, 2014
2. Post Street Substation
Click or scan to see
this page online
needed during the day. City streetlights were controlled from the substation, where operators manually switched lights on and off. A streetcar track ran into the building so trolleys could be serviced and sheltered.

Built in a Romanesque style with large, recessed arch windows, the substation is an excellent example of Spokane's early industrial architecture and is included on the National Register of Historic Places. Designed by Spokane architects Kirtland Cutter and Karl Malmgren, the substation matches the heroic scale of Spokane's lower falls. Its massively-built corners were once capped with bulbous iron domes, which were donated to the U.S. government for scrap metal during World War II.

(Left) View of the substation in 1912. Photo courtesy of the Northwest Museum of Arts and Culture/Eastern Washington State Historical Society, Spokane, Avista Collection.
• The substation's large, open interior allowed various equipment configurations and dissipated machine-generated heat. Equipment in this 1913 view provided AC and DC power at various voltages. Photo courtesy of Avista
• Avista 's Post Street Substation has been an integral part of Spokane 's waterfront since 1909. Photo ©2009 John D. Moore, CPP
Erected by
Paid Advertisement
Click on the ad for more information.
Please report objectionable advertising to the Editor.
Avista Utilities.
Topics. This historical marker is listed in these topic lists: ArchitectureIndustry & Commerce. A significant historical year for this entry is 1909.
Location. 47° 39.659′ N, 117° 25.423′ W. Marker is in Spokane, Washington, in Spokane County. Marker is on North Post Street north of West Spokane Falls Boulevard, on the left when traveling north. Touch for map. Marker is at or near this postal address: 397 N Post St, Spokane WA 99256, United States of America. Touch for directions.
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within walking distance of this marker. Spokane's Electric Streetcars (here, next to this marker); City Hall (within shouting distance of this marker); Spokane River (about 500 feet away, measured in a direct line); The First Bridges (about 600 feet away); Post Street Bridge (about 600 feet away); Havermale Island — Pioneer Stronghold (about 600 feet away); Symbol of Spokane (about 600 feet away); The Great Fire of 1889 (about 700 feet away). Touch for a list and map of all markers in Spokane.
Also see . . .  Post Street Electric Substation. Wikipedia entry on the historic substation. (Submitted on May 3, 2022, by Duane and Tracy Marsteller of Murfreesboro, Tennessee.) 
Credits. This page was last revised on May 3, 2022. It was originally submitted on May 3, 2022, by Duane and Tracy Marsteller of Murfreesboro, Tennessee. This page has been viewed 105 times since then and 25 times this year. Photos:   1, 2. submitted on May 3, 2022, by Duane and Tracy Marsteller of Murfreesboro, Tennessee.
Editor’s want-list for this marker. Wide shot of marker and surrounding area in context. • Can you help?

Share this page.  
Share on Tumblr

CeraNet Cloud Computing sponsors the Historical Marker Database.
Paid Advertisements

Mar. 25, 2023