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Real Property Record Cards were created by the Spokane County Assessor’s Office to capture the assessed valuation of land and buildings for the purpose of real property taxation. The records were updated each time an appraisal was completed, typically on a four to six year cycle, and older information was sometimes erased. When cards were worn or damaged, the most recent information was copied to a new card.
The best way to access the cards is by parcel number. Addresses are also searchable, but many cards did not include the address information, and so such a search is less reliable. Legal description was not captured in indexing these records, because the records do not provide standardized legal description information. Researchers are encouraged to refer to the Spokane County Assessor’s web site to convert address information into parcel numbers.
The cards were compiled and updated from approximately 1940 through 2000, with some irregular updates thereafter. Some of the cards were replaced in the late 1990s with computer generated cards containing less information. These “goldenrod” cards are also part of the collection. By 2000, the Assessor’s office had transitioned to a software system for recording assessed value, and there are no hard-copy records more recent than this collection in existence. Each card covers a slightly different date range, but there are no real gaps in the records. The cards are arranged by parcel number.
Photographs only exist for buildings which were standing at the time of the last update to the cards. The assessed value of the property, the year of construction of any buildings, and details such as the number of bathrooms and the type of siding used are all recorded on the face of the cards. A “footprint” sketch detailing the lots’ boundaries, the measurements of the perimeter of any buildings and how the buildings were situated on the lot are recorded on the back of the typical card. Ownership information is not recorded on the cards, and dates or values of sale were only rarely recorded.
When the Assessed Value portion of the cards were filled, the Assessor’s Office glued on flaps of paper, allowing further values to be recorded. Because of this practice, some of the cards have been imaged multiple times, each time revealing the next flap or the original set of assessed values.
These records represent the first stage of the project to image and index the cards, and cover only the parcels within the Cheney city limits.
[Identification of item], Spokane County Government, Assessor, Real Property Record Cards, 1940-2000, Washington State Archives, Digital Archives, http://www.digitalarchives.wa.gov, [date accessed].
Records digitized and indexed by December Nestoss at Washington State Archives, Eastern Region Branch.