Opportunity Township Hall (Spokane Valley Heritage Museum)
Specializing in local and regional histories, the Spokane Valley Heritage Museum is dedicated to preserving and exhibiting the history of the Spokane Valley. Museum exhibits focus on the past century and volunteers and staff are on hand to help residents and visitors trace their own history with a searchable genealogy database that includes photographs. The museum, which opened in 2005, offers rotating exhibits, vintage and present day photographs, and an extensive archives area.The museum is located in the historic Opportunity Township Hall which was built in 1912. served as the seat of government for the now-defunct township of Opportunity from 1912-1974. The city of Spokane Valley incorporated in 2005 but was previously a township of called Opportunity Township.
Backstory and Context
Architect C. Harvey Smith designed the hall in the Mission/Spanish Colonial Revival Style. It was built on the earliest commercial block of the township. It served as the township's legal and civic administration building, but over the years it saw many other uses as well. It hosted library services, church services, weddings, civic organization meetings, rummage sales, bingo games, and movies. It was expanded in 1948. When Opportunity Township was disorganized in 1974 (due to financial reasons), it continued to be open for public use. Spokane County took over the building in 1990 and later turned it over to County Parks and Recreation Department. It remained vacant for a time until an art and framing gallery opened in 2000. In 2004, the Spokane Valley Legacy Foundation acquired it for the purpose of opening the museum.
Museum exhibits range from a Smithsonian space exhibit that includes a 3D video experience to “All Aboard,” which is an exhibit that reveals the roll the railroads played in the development of the Spokane Valley. It also incorporates outside exhibits into telling the story of Spokane Valley that includes artifacts such as a late 19th century Studebaker buggy and an exhibit that incorporates a historic Texaco Station.