Browne's Addition: Spokane, Washington

Summary

The most culturally diverse neighborhood in Spokane, Browne's Addition is a mosaic of past and present. Stately mansions are juxtaposed with low-rise apartment buildings and condominiums. Residents — some here by choice, others by necessity — appreciate the neighborhood's proximity to downtown and its recreational opportunities and physical beauty. The grocery store is an easy walk from residences as is the coffee shop, restaurants and pizza parlor. An increasingly vibrant pedestrian realm has created a strong sense of community and provides opportunities for neighbors to mix and mingle.

Designated Area

Encompassing 176 acres, historic Browne's Addition lies directly west of Spokane's city center.

Its north and west boundaries are defined by the contour of a high bluff that overlooks the confluence of the Spokane River and Latah Creek.

The south and southeasterly edges are marked by Sunset Boulevard and the Northern Pacific Railroad embankment. Maple Street serves as the eastern border.

Planning Excellence

Home to an active citizenry and faith-based institutions, Browne's Addition has emerged from a lengthy period of decline with renewed vitality and a constituency that is committed to the neighborhood's success.

Depicting the historic nature of Browne's Addition, this mural brings life to what otherwise would be an uninteresting blank wall. Photo courtesy of Cat's Eye Photography.

Natural Environment Emphasis

  • Offers spectacular views of the confluence of two rivers and distant mountains; waterways provide opportunities for swimming, kayaking, rafting
  • Both coniferous and deciduous trees, many of exotic stock, found throughout  neighborhood as recommended in 1907 by Olmsted Brothers Landscape Architects of Brookline, Massachusetts
  • City's first public park located here; 10-acre Coeur d'Alene Park features a replica of its original gazebo where residents gather for summer concerts. Upcoming renovations to Overlook Park with expansive river views from neighborhood's west end, to include cliff-side trail repairs
  • Near hiking trails and a bicycle path that extends to Idaho

Diverse Housing Stock

  • Practically every residential style fashionable in the Pacific Northwest from 1880 to 1930 is found here; many stately mansions have carriage houses and expansive gardens. Architect Kirtland Cutter's design for the exotic Patrick Clark home is based on palaces of Islamic Spain and stands out among surrounding English Tudors and Queen Anne–style homes. Many houses have been restored although some previously converted into apartments exist as condominiums.
  • Several low-rise apartment buildings erected following 1958 rezoning;  condominium development mini-boom occurred during past five years
  • Browne's Addition offers a variety of housing opportunities at nearly all income levels; apartments rent from $300 and new condominiums sell for more than $600,000. According to 2000 U.S. Census, 90 percent of the neighborhood's 1,200 housing units are renter occupied

Stately homes are just a part of Browne's Addition. Housing also includes low-rise affordable apartment buildings. Photo courtesy of Cat's Eye Photography.

Historic Nature

  • All but 43 acres designated a National Historic District in 1976; accounts for five percent of the city's locally registered historic buildings and 16 percent of its nationally registered ones; neighborhood currently has 239 historic buildings
  • Historic structure renovation began in earnest in the 1980s as private funds became  available; significant tax incentives offered through  national Economic Recovery Tax Act of 1981 spurred interest in restoration
  • Northwest Museum of Arts and Culture, located in Browne's Addition, offers classes on home restoration and local history given neighborhood's commitment to restoring historic houses and maintaining area's historic integrity

Commitment to Planning

  • Spokane's first neighborhood, Browne's Addition consists of a 160-acre homestead claimed in 1878 by John J. Browne upon his arrival from Portland, Oregon. Platted in 1880s, the land's level terrain is well suited for a conventional grid pattern
  • Community Development Block Grant used in 1980 to fund neighborhood design planning process in order to reverse nearly five decades of decline;  resulting plan gives rise to public-private partnership focused on revitalization
  • Special overlay zoning is adopted in 1984 as part of the plan; helps define and protect  community's physical characteristics. Other regulations put into place to encourage  revitalization of neighborhood's commercial area
  • Victorian-style street lights, signage, sidewalks, and bus shelters consistent with  neighborhood's historic character are installed as part of implementing design plan; county's first traffic circle, which surrounds a flower garden, is constructed in center of retail area

Strong Sense of Community

  • Browne's Addition Steering Committee, formed in 1976, is leading force in neighborhood revitalization; initiated community improvement activities, including development of 1984 design plan
  • The Vintage Faith Community and All Saints Lutheran Church actively engage residents, regardless of religious affiliation. The Vintage Faith Community hosts a Halloween carnival, Easter egg hunt, and neighborhood barbecues and block parties; All Saints Lutheran Church provides a free meal to the homeless each week, sponsors a small food bank, and hosts an annual spaghetti dinner and neighborhood yard sale
  • Browne's Addition is the site of numerous events including the annual ArtFest and summer concerts at Coeur d'Alene Park, Elkfest, and monthly historical walking tours;  annual Lilac Bloomsday Run sweeps through neighborhood

Residents of Browne's Addition can meet both their daily and entertainment needs within the boundary of the neighborhood. Outdoor seating at this pub adds to the street life. Photo courtesy of Cat's Eye Photography.