The Phoenix of Spokane arising from the ashes
7. [BIRD’S-EYE VIEW: SPOKANE, WASHINGTON].
Panoramic View of Spokane Falls, Spokane
County, Washington, 1890 Eleven Months after the Great Fire.
[lower left below image]:
Inter-State Publishing Co., Printers
and Lithographers, Kansas City, Mo.
[lower right below
Drawn by Augustus Koch.
Lithographic bird’s-eye view
with original teal wash. 68.5 x 100 cm; 27 x 39
(image); 73.7 x 100 cm; 29 x 39
inches (image with text
below). A few tears into image area (no losses), light staining
at upper borders (affecting only blank margins) and one small
stain at lower left, slight overall browning, but all in all, very
good—a rare survival in any condition.
This large and finely detailed bird’s-eye view is not record-
ed by Reps; the earliest Spokane view recorded by Reps is
Wellge’s 1884 view (
View and Viewmakers of Urban America
Panoramas of Promise
106). Wellge’s 1884 view is
not at all like the present one.
On August 4, 1899, Spokane suffered a huge fire that
destroyed most of the central business district. While operat-
ing out of a tent city, most businesses, which were insured,
quickly rebuilt using brick or stone, resulting in the fine
assemblage of buildings shown here between Front and First
Streets. Many of the buildings were designed by distin-
guished architect Kirtland K. Cutter and other noteworthy
architects. Shown on the view as No. 54 is the Washington
Water Power Company, which was set up to provide power
for the Northwest Industrial Exposition, held at Spokane in
1890, which was Washington’s first industrial fair. The new
Industrial Exposition Building is shown in the lower right of
the view. All in all, this view executed specifically for real
estate agent H. L. Moody reflects a prosperous, bountiful city,
definitely on the rebound.
German-born Augustus Koch (1840-?), the creator of this
rare view, was one of the most important viewmakers. “No
American viewmaker traveled more widely in search of sub-
jects than August Koch.... Koch drew his cities with consider-
able care, consistently depicting his subjects as if seen from
very high viewpoints.... He seems to have drawn with substan-
tial accuracy.... His recorded output of 110 views was exceed-
ed by only a few other viewmakers” (Reps,
, pp. 184-185).
8. BREWER, William H[enry].
Up and Down California in
1860-1864.... Edited by Francis P. Farquhar....
New Haven: Yale
University Press, 1930. xxx, 601 [1, blank] pp., 32 plates
(including photographic frontispiece; many halftones from
contemporary images, folding map, text illustrations. 8vo,
original navy blue cloth, spine gilt-lettered. Fine in d.j. (price
clipped and spine of d.j. sun faded). Laid in is publication
Cowan II, p. 70. Edwards,
32-33. Hill I, pp. 362-63. Hill II: 182. Howell 50,
322. Howes B754. Huntington Library,
tion of Famous and Notorious California Classics
p. 55 (Powell commentary). Neate,
and Its Literature
106. Norris 391. Powell,
pp. 115-27: “Brewer was the field leader of the first California
Geological Survey.... His description of California in the early
1860s is unmatched by any other in its variety, fidelity, and
human interest.” Rocq 16701.
Gary F. Kurutz in Volkmann Zamorano 80 catalogue:
William Henry Brewer, who served as Josiah D. Whit-
ney’s principal assistant and field leader of the Califor-
nia Geological Survey in the early 1860s, wrote a series
of journal-like letters that form one of the best travel
accounts describing the totality of California. Skillfully
assembled and edited by that great historian and bibli-
ographer of the High Sierra, Francis P. Farquhar, Brew-
er’s detailed letters cover virtually every aspect of the
state from Los Angeles to Crescent City and from San
Francisco to the mines of the Comstock Lode. In four
years, this New York–born scientist had traveled over
14,000 miles from one end of the state to the other.
Probably no one before or since had tramped over so
much territory. Kevin Starr calls his letters “the found-
ing statement of California mountaineering...they put
on record the exact extent of California’s alpine her-
itage.” Although written for family and friends, they
superbly chronicle the first systematic scientific survey
of the Golden State.
By foot, mule, and stage, the Yale-trained Brewer and
his colleagues Clarence King (also a Yale graduate),
Charles F. Hoffman, and James T. Gardiner traversed
over hill and dale to learn all they could about Califor-
nia’s post–Gold Rush natural resources and its geolog-
ic past. In so doing, Brewer saw just about every notable
natural wonder that graced the state from its majestic
coastline to the towering peaks of the Sierra. The
Yosemite Valley, the giant sequoias, geysers, lakes,
rivers, and mountain peaks all came under his scrutiny.
This book of letters, however, is much more than an
alpine adventure or nature study; it also encompasses
California’s human environment of instant cities, mines,
farms, ranches, lumber mills, roads, and waterways. His
visits to Los Angeles, the “decadent” town of Santa Bar-
bara, San Francisco (the “best governed city in the
United States”), and once-booming mining camps pro-
vide a fresh perspective and entertaining reading.
Brewer sent these letters back home to his brother
Edgar with instructions that they be shared with fami-
ly and friends and be saved for his return. The scientist,
however, never intended them to be published but, as
brought out by Lawrence Clark Powell, he was “an
unwitting literary artist, capable of writing a vigorous,
flowing prose.” His epistles are marked by their clarity
and immediacy and are not bogged down in turgid tech-
nical writing. Farquhar noted that “When he came to
write out his impressions for the benefit of others, he
clothed the bare bones of his statistics and created
something pulsing with life. Yet he never altered his
facts to make an impression.”
As demonstrated by these reports to his family,
Brewer seemingly never rested. Carrying delicate scien-
tific instruments, he collected geologic and botanical
specimens of all kinds, made complex observations and
measurements, packed and repacked, tended to the