Historic Properties of Spokane
The Transient Hotel is significant for its association with the unprecedented population and construction booms that occurred in Spokane in the first decade of the twentieth century. During that time investors erected Single Room Occupancy hotels (SRO) on nearly every block of the city’s central business district to accommodate the waves of laborers who flocked to Spokane for jobs in the region’s mining, lumber, agricultural, railiraod, and other economic sectors. One such investor was William McVay, the contractor who erected the Transient in 1904. McVay worked from plans drawn by architect C. Ferris White. While the Transient reflects the typical SRO in its configuration, with commercial spaces on the ground floor and single room occupancy residential spaces above, it is atypical in its size--most SROs tended to be considerably larger, with three or four stories and a "U" or "W" shaped footprint, making maximum use of all available space.