KHQ and the Davenport Hotel

Davenport Hotel's Important Position

The Davenport Hotel holds an important position in the early days of broadcasting in Spokane. Most people, who are familiar with the history of the Davenport Hotel, have heard of KHQ's relationship with the hotel and know about KHQ's radio tower on roof of the hotel. However, the precise details of the hotel's role in the broadcast history in Spokane have not been well known. To illustrate the importance of the relationship between KHQ and the Davenport Hotel, a program schedule from 1928 proudly declared that "KHQ" was "The Station of the Davenport Hotel."

(From Broadcasting License Records, National Archives)

KHQ's First Broadcast from Spokane

Louis Wasmer, owner of KHQ, moved KHQ from Seattle to Spokane by 1925 and built a studio in the Davenport Hotel. On 30 October 1925, KHQ first officially signed on in Spokane from their fourth floor studio in the Davenport. The first day of broadcast was greeted with great fanfare. (See this link for further information about KHQ's inaugural broadcast, and here about KHQ's move from Seattle to Spokane.)

Signal Transmitted from the Peyton Building

KHQ transmitted its signal from the Peyton Building when it used the Davenport Hotel for the home of its studio and office. The Peyton Building, which is still standing, is located on the Northeast corner of Sprague Avenue and Post Street diagonal from the Davenport. The initial frequency was 1100 kHz and the power was 1 kW. The transmitting plant consisted of two 70-foot towers and 90-foot aerials strung between them. The station later broadcast on 760 kHz and 810 kHz from this site. (For a more detailed description of the Peyton Building transmitter plant see this link.)

Two Tower Plan on the Davenport Abandoned

Louis Wasmer revealed in late 1926 that the station planned to build a radio broadcasting station on the roof of the Davenport Hotel. The plan called for two towers to rise 150 feet above the roof and 375 feet above the street level. The towers were to be made of special steel upon which the letters KHQ and the words Davenport Hotel would be mounted. The towers' bases were to be 30 feet square. The coverage with the two towers was expected to reach "from the Pacific to the Atlantic, and from the Hudson Bay to the Gulf of Mexico by air route." There is no evidence that this transmitting facility was ever built.

Move to Eilers Building; One Tower on Davenport

In 1928, Wasmer decided that the Davenport Hotel quarters for KHQ's studio and office were too small, and moved the station across Post Street to the Eilers Building. (This building was also called the Standard Stock Exchange Building and later the Radio Central Building.) At the same time, Wasmer oversaw the erection of two towers, one on the Davenport and one on the opposite side of Post Street on the Eilers Building. Aerial wires were strung in between the two towers. The transmitter was located in the Eilers Building. (For additional information about the move to the Eilers Building, see this link.) This transmitter plant served KHQ from August 1928 until KHQ moved its transmitters to Moran Prairie in 1937.

KHQ Tower Long Time Familiar Landmark

The KHQ tower remained a familiar Downtown Spokane landmark on the top of the Davenport for many years until about 1985 (?), when it was razed.

Charles Lindbergh's Voice on KHQ

One of the several famous people who appeared on KHQ from the Davenport studios included Charles Lindbergh.

KHQ Orchestra Played in the Davenport Hotel

Other Stations Also Used the Davenport

Radio Station KDNC 1440 also used the Davenport as the home to its studio and offices from 22 April 1964 to 10 October 1969.

Tom Read added a downtown studio for KUDY in the hotel to record programs with guests. Tom stated that the studio was on the third floor with an office on the other end of the third floor.

Other local radio stations have used the Davenport for remote broadcasts at various times over the years.

Updated by Bill Harms - 1 June 2008.


- click on thumbnails for larger images

Postcard featuring KHQ's fourth floor broadcast studio in the Davenport. KHQ's first broadcast was from this room.

Floor diagram of the Davenport Hotel on the ninth floor. According to Tom McArthur, Communications Director at the Davenport Hotel, the fourth floor diagram would have been the same as the ninth floor diagram pictured here. The KHQ studio would have been in rooms 918 and 919 in this diagram (or actually 418 and 419).
(Courtesy of the Davenport Hotel)

A view of Sprague Avenue looking west towards the Hotel (in the center) before KHQ's move to the Eilers Building. The picture was taken in the mid-1920's based on the types of automobiles pictured. The Eilers Building (or the Radio Central Building) is the building with PIANOS sign on the corner. The Peyton Building is across the street.

Postcard picture of the Davenport in the 1930's. You can see the bottom of the tower and wires to the right, which could be the counterpoise.

A black and white sketch of the Davenport from the 1930's. You can see some of the aerial wires on the tower which would have gone across the Post Street to the Radio Central Building (ex-Eilers Building.) The corner of the Radio Central Building is visible on the far left.

Men climbing the tower. Date of the photo is unknown.
(Courtesy of the Davenport Hotel)

Backside view of the Davenport from the Southwest of the building. Assumed to be in the 1940's.

Another backside view of the Davenport from the Southwest of the building. Assumed to be in the 1940's.

A 1950 street-level view of the hotel. You can see KHQ and KGA signs on the corner of the Radio Central Building on the left side of the photo.

Street-level view of the Davenport Hotel from the 1950's. You can also see the Radio Central Building on the left and the Peyton Building on the right.

Street-level view of the Northeast corner of the Davenport. The picture was taken around 1960.
(Courtesy of the Davenport Hotel)

The northeast corner of the Davenport as seen from the roof. The Washington Trust Bank Building can be prominently seen in the center of the photo.

View of the tower base looking to the Southeast. Tower Mountain can be seen on the horizon just over the top of the base.

View of the tower base from roof-top level

View of the top of the tower base. Notice the microwave dishes which are used as studio links to the local radio and television stations.

Street-level view of the Davenport taken from the northeast corner of Post Street and Sprague Avenue.

Aerial view of the Davenport taken from the southwest looking to the northeast. The Peyton Building and Annex is visible over the northeast corner of the Davenport, and the Washington Trust Building is visible across the street from the Davenport on upper right part of the photo.
(Courtesy of the Davenport Hotel)


  1. Broadcasting Station License Record for KDNC. Federal Communications Commission. Washington, DC. 22 April 1964.
  2. Broadcasting Station License Record for KHQ. Federal Communications Commission. Washington, DC. Various dates.
  3. "Ceremonies Will Mark Opening of New Radio Plant. "Spokane Chronicle, Spokane, Washington, 30 October 1925.
  4. "Commercial Radio Station List." Radio Service Bulletin, 30 January 1926, #106, Pages 8-20, Department of Commerce, Washington, DC
  5. "KHQ Dedicates New Station." Spokesman-Review. Spokane, Washington. 8 August 1928.
  6. "KHQ Goes On Air Here." Spokesman-Review, Spokane, Washington, 30 October 1925.
  7. "KHQ Radio Broadcasts Here." Spokesman-Review. Spokane, Washington. 30 October 1925.
  8. McArthur, Tom; Communications Director, Davenport Hotel. Interview and email correspondence with Bill Harms. Spokane, Washington. June 2005.
  9. "New Radio Station Today." Spokane Chronicle. Spokane, Washington. 1925 (date and month not available).
  10. Read, Tom. Email correspondence with Bill Harms on 3 June 2007.
  11. Richardson, David. Puget Sounds - A Nostalgic Review of Radio and TV in the Great Northwest. 1981. Superior Publishers, Seattle, Washington.
  12. Spokane Valley Site Chose
  13. "To Construct Unique Radio Towers on Davenport for KHQ. "Spokesman-Review, p.1. Spokane, Washington. 14 November 1926.