The History of the PaulsenThe Paulsen Center is one of Spokane's most classic and historic landmarks. Located on Riverside Avenue between Washington and Stevens Street, the Paulsen Center is situated close to Riverfront park, the Convention Center and is connected to the downtown skywalk network.
The Center includes 2 buildings constructed in the early 1900's. The August Paulsen Center consists of 11 stories and was constructed in 1908 by August Paulsen a native of Denmark. He immigrated to Chicago in 1891 and then out west where he partnered with Levi Hutton to develop the Hercules mine. When they hit ore in 1901 production soared as well as their profits and with the success of the mine Mr. Paulsen was able to spend time, money and energy on other projects using the funds made in the silver mining industry. He then moved to Spokane in 1906 where he began his plans for the August Paulsen office Building. When complete in 1908 it was the tallest and most modern building in Spokane.
Mr. Paulsen then outlined plans for another building when he died
suddenly on March 12,
1927 of heart failure following a severe asthma attack. In 1928 his family members set his
plans into action constructing the 17 story Paulsen Medical and Dental building equipped
with a 12 bed hospital complete with operating room attracting doctors and dentists to one
building. In the 1970's the tenant base changed to attorneys, accountants, investment
bankers, architects and other professional services. The buildings rich interiors of mahogany,
sculptured oak and granite is still evident today. The top floor of this building is a penthouse
and was once the home of the Paulsen family for many years. When Ms. Helen Paulsen passed
away in 2009, the penthouse received a major facelift and changed to commercial office space
but retained the original fixtures and floor plan.
The two buildings were finally connected in 1978 when a passageway was created connecting the two lobbies. In addition, an entrance and a hallway were created in the east end of the building on Washington Street. This occurred at the time the skywalk was constructed connecting the buildings to the US Bank Building and the rest of the skywalk system.