Browne's Addition

Browne's Addition was Spokane's first neighborhood. For decades this neighborhood was an enclave for the city's elite residents. This tour begins and ends at the MAC. This tour is slightly less than 1.5 miles and highlights historic buildings here in the Browne's Addition neighborhood.

In the summer of 1878 the area called Spokane Falls was sparsely populated having only 54 residents. At this time James N. Glover still owned most of the city when John J. Browne came to Spokane from Portland in the summer. John J. Browne had worked in schools in the mid-west and became a lawyer, studying at the University of Michigan. Once he was in Spokane Falls J.J. Browne bought 120 acres of land with Mr. A.M. Cannon. This acreage was the beginning of what would become Browne's Addition and Cannon's Addition respectively.

By the end of the 19th Century the wealthy of Spokane were beginning to take notice of the fine surroundings in Browne's Addition and began moving into the neighborhood. Browne noticed the appeal of the location and in order to gain more land in this neighborhood he applied for and received a homestead grant for the part of Browne's Addition that he didn't already own. Browne's Addition was very attractive to Spokane Falls residents because of the proximity to downtown and it scenic location above the Spokane River. To make the neighborhood more attractive to wealthy residents John J. Browne, Henry C. Marshall and Andrew J. Ross incorporated the Spokane Street Railway Company on December 6th, 1886. By April 15th 1888 they had opened their first horse-drawn streetcar line, which incidentally ran from Browne's Addition to downtown.

In 1889 Fire swept through downtown Spokane, leaving the downtown core decimated in its wake. The fire, however was contained to downtown and the outlying neighborhoods, including Browne's Addition, were spared from the flames.

In order to promote home building in Browne's Addition and Cannon's Addition Browne and Cannon donated the land for Coeur d'Alene Park, taking half of the land from Browne's land and half from Cannon. The park was not only a selling point for properties but has been a great place for Spokanites to gather outdoors for over 120 years.

Beginning in the late 1920s the large mansions of Browne's Addition began to be sub-divided into apartment homes. These apartments filled the need of low income housing for many residents who also needed to be near the downtown core. This practice took place in many different mansions including the Finch and James Clark Mansions, which are on this tour.

From the 1930s through 1980 Browne's Addition was attracting a very different kind of resident than it had at the turn of the century. The new kind of resident of Browne's Addition was someone looking for low rent lodging while keeping close to the downtown. As more and more low rent residents moved into Browne's Addition the historic housing stock began to get run down from neglect and misuse. During this time many people referred to the neighborhood as Browne's Addiction because of the rampant drug use that became associated with the neighborhood.

In 1976 Browne's Addition was placed on the National Register of Historic Places as a registered Historic District. This began the use of historic preservation in Spokane as a way not only to save old buildings but to revitalize their neighborhoods. The Browne's Addition Steering Committee worked with the MAKERS Company in Seattle to create the Browne's Addition Neighborhood Design Plan. This plan outlined how to increase the livability of the neighborhood while focusing on the historic aspects of the neighborhood.

Once the plan was finalized in 1986 the residents of Browne's Addition began to reverse the process of Urban Blight and began to re-claim their neighborhood as one of the most well maintained and organized neighborhoods in Spokane. The Steering Committee has used their funds to develop the neighborhood in terms of street tree plantings, sidewalk improvements to make the neighborhood more walkable and they have improved the neighborhood business district at the intersection of Pacific and Cannon Streets. Through these improvements and people Browne's Addition has reversed the Urban Blight trend and has been redeveloped with an eye towards their historic past.

Take some time out of your day to walk around this neighborhood and understand the importance of the residents of Browne's Addition and the homes within it.

Northwest Museum of Arts and Culture

This stop is brought to you by the Northwest Museum of Arts and Culture. The Northwest Museum of Arts and Culture is the premier museum of the Inland North West. The organization began as the Spokane Historical Society in 1916. In 1918 the society…

Grace Campbell Memorial House

Amasa B. Campbell was born in Salem, Ohio on April 6, 1845. Mr. Campbell went to school until he was 15 years old when he began working at the wool and trade commission. By 1867 Mr. Campbell took a job with the Union Pacific Railroad in Omaha until…

Reid House

The Reid House is a private residence, please respect the residents' privacy by remaining on the sidewalk as you examine this historic home. What is known today as the Reid house was built in 1900, designed by Albert Held for Charles L.…

John A. Finch Mansion

The Finch mansion is a private residence. Please observe the residences privacy by remaining on the sidewalk as you examine this historic home. The Finch mansion was designed and built by renowned architect Kirtland Cutter in1898. The home was…

Overlook Park

Sitting roughly 500 feet above Hangman Creek, Overlook Park is a great place to relax and enjoy the view of hangman valley. Overlook Park was conceived as part of the Browne's Addition Neighborhood Re-vitalization in the 1980s and 1990s as a…

James Clark Mansion

The James Clark Mansion is a private residence. Please observe the residents privacy by observing this historic property from the sidewalk. The James Clark mansion is located at 2308 W 3rd Avenue and was built in 1896 and designed by Albert Held. …

Spokane's First Park: Coeur d'Alene Park

On summer evenings you can come to Coeur d'Alene Park in Browne's Addition, bring a picnic and listen to the sounds of different bands enjoying the shade of a tree while the sun sets. If you visited this park one hundred years earlier you…

Patrick Clark Mansion

Patrick "Patsy" Clark was an Irish immigrant who came to the United States in 1850.   Clark quickly left New York for the promise of mining opportunities in California.   Clark was wildly successful in his mining…

Brunot Hall

As Spokane grew in the late 19th Century there were some needs of the community that were not being filled. The Episcopal Diocese of Spokane believed that one of these needs was an all girls school to teach the areas young women. The newly…

Streetcars in Browne's Addition

The streetcars of Spokane began in an era when there weren't many ways to get around. The citizens of Spokane could walk, or they could take their own carriage to their destination. Elite businessmen of this time (end of the 19th Century) had…

Avenida Apartments

The Avenida Apartments are private residences, please observe their privacy by observing the building from the sidewalk. The Avenida Apartment House is located at 2009 W Pacific and were built in 1909. The Avenida Apartments were commissioned by…

Elk Drug Store

The Elk Drug Store in Spokane has changed many times over its 90 year history. Initially the Elk Drug Store opened by a partnership of Stone & Sutherland in Spokane on 415 Riverside Avenue between 1900-1902. Thanks to the MAC Archives…

Loewenberg-Roberts House

The Lowenberg-Roberts House is a private residence, please observe this home from the sidewalk. The Lowenberg-Roberts House, located at 1923 W First Ave., was built for Bernard Loewenberg in 1889 and was designed by architect W.J. Carpenter. The…

Return of the Four-Leggeds

These beloved sculptures are the work of Tom Otterness. To make the museum more inviting, the Northwest museums of Arts and Culture (or the MAC) installed the sculpture series, The Return of the Four-Leggeds. These sculptures are an exhibition,…