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Explore gems of Corbin Park in Mother’s Day tour

Weekend event benefits museum’s preservation work

Paul and Cheri Nelson moved into their historic Corbin Park home in 1988 and have made its restoration one of their biggest projects.

The 1905 Craftsman was originally occupied by a physician, who is believed to have seen patients in what is now the library, Paul Nelson said.

“It’s been fun bringing it back,” he said of the work.

This weekend, the public will get a chance to look inside as the Nelsons join the annual Mother’s Day Historic House Tour sponsored by the Northwest Museum of Arts and Culture. Proceeds will benefit the museum’s historic preservation work, including operation of the historic Campbell House.

Six homes ringing Corbin Park on Spokane’s North Side will be featured in the self-guided tour on Saturday and Sunday from noon to 4 p.m.

Nelson said a friend once joked that the only thing that works in an old house is the owner.

Judging from his well-preserved gem, Nelson has been busy.

“It’s been a lot of work, but it’s been gratifying,” Nelson said last week.

The home greets the visitor with a warm color scheme done in autumn hues. A carriage house with turret is to the left rear of the home.

Inside is a classic array of fine woodwork, balanced window openings, a fireplace and a spacious dining room.

Nelson and his wife have decorated the home with antiques, some of which were handed down by family members. Among the collection is a piano built in 1862.

They used photographs of the original interior to restore the rooms, which had lost some of their decorative detail.

The biggest surprise came when they removed paneling that was covering the original red fir staircase and found small stained-glass medallions embedded in each baluster.

The house is among some 83 homes built around Corbin Park prior to 1917.

Dr. Olaf T. Melde was the first occupant. He made house calls and also saw patients in the home, according to Nelson, the fifth owner of the home.

The history of Corbin Park dates to 1886, when it was opened as the site of the Washington and Idaho Fair. The oval was used for racing events, including harness and bicycle races.

By 1898, the fairgrounds were no longer being used with the exception of a few races.

D.C. Corbin, who foreclosed on the property from the fair association in 1893, had it platted in 1899 and deeded the park land to the city in 1901.

The Olmsted brothers’ master plan for city parks in 1909 included a layout for Corbin Park.

Today, the Corbin Park Historic District is listed on the local, state and national registers of historic places.