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Setup for the 1915 Auto Show at the Davenport Hotel

Davenport Hotel Spokane Washington Auto Show 1915 Model T Ford

Auto shows in the first quarter of the last century when the automobile was still somewhat of a novelty could be lavish affairs especially in larger cities. Ballrooms, halls and in this case even hotel lobbies were used by dealers and distributors to set up extensive displays of the product line that they handled.

The stately Davenport Hotel in Spokane, Washington, was a venue that was used for such occasions and its historical site describes it as follows: “The Hotel opened in 1914 as a destination in its own right. It was to be a place where guests could experience a singular combination of world-class service, palatial splendor, and inviting warmth”.

This photo shows a circa 1915 Model “T” Ford Center-Door Sedan being winched up a pair of ramps presumably constructed by the Hotel just for this purpose. One would imagine the lighter and less expensive cars were displayed on the second-floor balcony, and the larger and more expensive cars were on the ground floor. If your can add anything to the story send us a comment. The photo is courtesy of Occhio Lungo.

Davenport Hotel Spokane Washington Auto Show 1915 Model T Ford

9 responses to “Setup for the 1915 Auto Show at the Davenport Hotel

  1. My favorite detail is the way the supports for the ramp straddle the fountain in the middle of the lobby floor!

    Off the topic but even in the 1950’s hotels were still used for auto shows;
    all the GM Motoramas were held in the ballroom of the Waldorf-Astoria in New York City, for instance.

  2. Even noticed the lumber used for the ramp is numbered. Probably so the ramp could be reassembled in order to get the car down after the show.

  3. The picture is part of an article from the “Spokesman-Review” newspaper, dated May 13, 1915.

    The article is titled “Davenport Hotel Lobby the Night before the Auto Show”, and I quote:

    “John Doran is shown in front seat and Thaddeus S. Lane, president of the Spokane Auto Show, in the rear of the Ford coupe that was the first car pulled up the steep incline from the lobby to the mezzanine floor of Davenport’s hotel. All the work of putting the cars in place was done between midnight and 4 a.m. Spokane auto dealers worked practically all night to get their exhibits in place. The cars were brought into the hotel through the Elizabethan dining room from First Avenue on a specially constructed runway. The cars were pulled to the mezzanine floor by a double block and tackle.”

  4. We believe this 1915 Model T photo at the Davenport Hotel belonged to my Grandpa’s auto dealer ship at 410 W 2nd Ave. His name was Ernest Harrison Scott and we are just beginning to search for more information. His dealership was Model Livery Stable and later named Model Garage.

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