Eleanor Barrow Chase, a member of one of Spokane, Washington’s pioneer African American families, made many contributions to the city during her lifetime. Eleanor excelled in sports and academics, graduating magna cum laude from Whitworth College with a degree in vocal music in 1941. After graduation, Eleanor became a soloist at several downtown churches and later worked for the state as a case worker and probation officer. She served over a dozen organizations and institutions; among them her alma mater’s Board of Trustees. She also received numerous accolades, and was eventually presented the Golden Deeds Award by the city.
Eleanor and her husband, James, were life-long supporters of the NAACP. She was very proud of the fact that James was elected local NAACP president, as well as Spokane’s first African American mayor in 1980. As a native of Spokane she was an emphatic local booster. “I love the city of Spokane because of the wonderful people we have, and its great beauty in every way.” Today, the Eleanor Chase House stands as a women’s facility of the state Department of Corrections, named “in honor of Eleanor Elizabeth Barrow Chase, renowned community leader.”