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Hillyard, Spokane facts for kids

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Old Hillyard High School
Old Hillyard High School
Country United States
State Washington
County Spokane County
City Spokane

Hillyard, Washington is a neighborhood in Spokane, Washington which existed as a separate town between 1892 and 1924.

The town came about due to the Great Northern Railway and was named for James J. Hill, then-head of the railroad. Between 1904 and 1912, many of the town's houses were built, to house railroad workers working in the local yard. Hillyard was the home of the Great Northern's famed shops where locomotives were manufactured, repaired, and refurbished. At the time, the Hillyard shop was the largest in the nation.

In 1924, Hillyard was officially annexed by neighboring Spokane.

Due to its historical roots as a town housing railroad workers, Hillyard acquired a rather rough reputation, which lasts into recent decades. (As recently as 1979, Daniel Leen described the Hillyard train yards in his book The Freighthoppers Manual for North America as having "the feel of warmed-over death.") After the Great Northern underwent a series of mergers, becoming the Burlington Northern Railroad and eventually the BNSF Railway, the Hillyard yard and shops were closed in the early 1980s with BN's main yard operations in Spokane moving to Yardley. Only the decaying structures of the old shops remain today. Hillyard suffers some of the worst poverty in Spokane, per capita it is the poorest neighborhood in the state of Washington.

Hillyard continues as a neighborhood of Spokane in which residents take pride. A Hillyard Festival is held every year in August, and the preservation of historic buildings is a local concern. Murals and a small railroad museum celebrate the town's history. Many of the neighborhood's residents are descended from the railroad workers who started the town, but Hillyard is recently becoming a popular home for immigrants of Russian, Ukrainian, Micronesian, and Southeast Asian descent. The downtown Hillyard business district, located on Market Street, has become Spokane's first neighborhood to be listed in the National Register of Historic Places. According to Teresa Brum, Spokane's Historic Preservation Officer in charge of the project to have Hillyard listed on the National Register: "This is the most architecturally intact neighborhood left in Spokane. Most of it looks as it did 90 years ago." Hillyard neighborhood is still there and is still home to the lower class of Spokane.

The North Spokane Corridor has forced a large number of relocations in the neighborhood. However, it is predicted that the freeway's presence will help revitalize areas of the neighborhood that remain.

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