In 1878 wealthy business man J.J. Browne moved to Spokane, Washington, originally named Spokane Falls, by way of Portland, Oregon. Along with current Spokane Falls resident A.M. Cannon, they purchased 120 acres together to create what we now know as Browne’s (and Cannon’s) Addition. Browne’s Addition drew the attention of wealthy Spokane Falls residents for its view and proximity to downtown. It was such a popular destination that there was even a horse-drawn streetcar line running from Browne’s Addition to downtown starting in 1888.
Eventually, the devastating 1889 Fire destroyed most of downtown Spokane, however sparing Browne’s Addition and other outlying neighborhoods. Home building then continued in Browne’s for years, producing the beautiful and historically important mansions that I often feature on my Instagram today. In the 1920’s, these mansion began dividing into apartments to help service lower income residents who needed to work in the nearby downtown area.
Beginning in the 1930’s and forward, many more low income residents moved in, and the historic homes began to see neglect and disrepair. Spokane resident eventually would associate the area with excessive drug use and crime. 1976 saw Browne’s Addition placed on the National Register of Historic Places as a Historic District. As recent as this month, October, 2019, Browne’s Addition will also be passed as the cities first local registered Historic District – of which I was lucky enough to vote and work on while serving on the Historic Landmarks Commission.
Along with Browne’s Addition’s vibrant history comes decade’s worth of ghost stories. Some of the cities most haunted mansions are located in the neighborhood – Patsy Clark Mansion, Campbell House, Roberts Mansion Inn, and 1899 House, to name a few. Most interestingly, one apartment complex’s developer unearthed skeletons when beginning construction back in 1987. As historian Tony Bamonte is quoted saying to Krem2 News, “Prior to 1883, there was definitely a cemetery there.” Apparently MOST remains were found and relocated in the 1880’s, but it’s difficult to how many might be left behind.