"Spokane and The Spokane Country - Pictorial and Biographical - Deluxe Supplement." Vol. II. The S.J. Clarke Publishing Company, 1912. (No author listed.) pgs. 104-106.
A WELL spent life has brought to L. B. Whitten substantial success in a
business way, and sound judgment has prompted judicious investment in real
estate until he is now the owner of valuable city and farm property.
Moreover, he is numbered among the early residents of eastern Washington,
having for thirty-one years resided in this district, so that he is largely
familiar with its upbuilding and progress, while toward its growth and
development he has contributed.He was born in Alleghany county, Virginia,
November 15, 1850, and is a son of James and Sidney (Hook) Whitten, who were
early residents of Pennsylvania and were descended from old families of the
east. In the public schools of his native state L. B. Whitten pursued his
education and then, turning his attention to the carpenter's trade, became
familiar with that business in its various phases. It was his father's wish
that the son should remain in Virginia and become a farmer, but this seemed to
limit his opportunities, and when he had mastered the carpenter's trade he
left the Old Dominion and made his way to the state of Missouri. There he
conducted a photograph gallery for a short period but was still not content
with his location. The west seemed to call him and he started overland with a
mule team for the Pacific coast country.Mr. Whitten first made his way to
Oregon, settling at The Dalles, but after a brief period came to Spokane,
where he arrived on the 3d of January, 1880. He bought a lot on Front street,
where he erected a carpenter shop and worked for several years. In 1881 he
purchased a lot and erected a frame building at No. 19 Howard street, there
establishing a drug store which was destroyed by fire in 1888. In the spring
of 1889 he replaced this by a three-story brick building and again suffered
heavy losses in the great fire which occurred in the fall of the same year.
Still undiscouraged, he at once rebuilt upon that site and also erected the
fine five-story Whitten block which occupied the corner of Sprague and Post
streets. In 1890 he erected a brick residence at the corner of Sixth and
Madison streets and in 1893 built a two-story building at 616 Front street and
a two-story brick store and office building at 222 Mill street. He is now
engaged on the construction of a three-story brick hotel, which he and his son
Paul will conduct. His investments in realty and his building operations have
brought him a substantial measure of success and in addition to his city
property he is also the possessor of much fine farming land throughout the
community. He is very active in real-estate circles and has also been
identified with a number of mining projects in this part of the country.
On the 5th of November, 1888, Mr. Whitten was married in Spokane to Miss Georgia J. Ballou, a daughter of Ellis and Laura (Clark) Ballou, both of whom were natives of Ohio and were graduates of Hiram College in that state. They removed to Zanesville, Ohio, and afterward to Helena, Montana, Mr. Ballou becoming receiver in the United States land office. On the maternal side Mrs. Whitten is descended from an old, prominent and distinguished French family, her ancestors having settled in this country early in the eighteenth century. Mr. and Mrs. Whitten have three children, namely: Paul B., who is associated with his father in his various real-estate interests; Lester C., who is now a student in Spokane, preparing to enter Harvard College; and Virginia, a student at Brunot Hall.
Politically Mr. Whitten is a democrat but has never been an aspirant for office, preferring always to concentrate his energies upon his business affairs, in which he has displayed keen foresight, sound judgment and unfaltering enterprise. His labors have been an element in the city's growth and improvement and he has also contributed to the civic welfare and development in other ways. His own success is due also to the fact that he is an excellent judge of human nature and that in all business dealings he is strictly reliable, so that his word has come to be regarded as good as any bond eversolemnized by signature or seal.
Submitted by: Nancy Pratt Melton
* * * * Notice: These biographies were transcribed for the Washington Biographies Project. Unless otherwise stated, no further information is available on the individuals featured in the biographies.