The Old City Hall design and lack of ornamentation point to the building's original intent as a temporary office building that would transition to a warehouse. Thus, the design exemplifies the Chicago School of Commercial Architecture style Because it was built with that commercial style, the building remained structurally sound and continues to look today much as it did in the early twentieth century.
While little documentation exists regarding the reason behind using the structure beyond its intended few years, it may be due to Spokane's substantial slowdown in population growth. By 1920, census data showed almost no growth over a five-year span. In fact, when one considers natural growth rate, it was clear that many were leaving Spokane. As such, city planners and boosters by the 1920s, and certainly during the Great Depression, began to tout Spokane as a quiet town fitting for families, rather than aspire to compete with major U.S. cities as major industrial and economic center.
Regardless of the reason, the building stood as the center of Spokane government activities through the early 1980s, from a time when Spokane's rise to prominence had peaked to a time when it enjoyed the status as a regional hub of the so-called Inland Empire consisting of Idaho, Montana, and Washington.