Historic Properties of Spokane
The Transient Hotel is significant for its association with the unprecedented population and associated construction boom that occurred in Spokane in the first decade of the 20th century. During that time investors erected Single Room Occupancy hotels, or SROs, on nearly every block of the city’s central business district to accommodate the waves of itinerant 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, a building contractor that erected the Transient in ca. 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.