One of the first larger homes built in Spokane in the 1880s was the two-and-a-half story, Queen Anne-style “dream home” of Hiram Muzzy. Constructed in 1889 in what is now the West Central neighborhood, it remains a historical gem now under the stewardship of owners who are working to restore it to its original grandeur.
The brick and granite house of mansion-size proportions sits on a spacious lot at 1506 W. Mission Ave., just a block east of the Maple-Ash corridor on Spokane’s near northwest side. This area was originally the 160-acre homestead of pioneer farmer and orchardist Hiram Muzzy, who received a land grant in 1888 from President Grover Cleveland for full ownership of the property, which he then platted into 500 lots for single-family homes in what was called Muzzy’s Addition just north of where the Spokane County Courthouse would be built in 1894.
Muzzy had arrived in Spokane from his native Ohio in 1880 and built two smaller homes in the area, cultivating the land for vegetables and fruit trees. A year after he received his land grant, he built his elegant third home, thanks in part to a population boom that enabled him to successfully sell his platted lots.
The house has a number of notable features, with the 35-foot-tall exterior corner box bay most prominent on the southwest edge. The bay has several fine architectural features and embellishments, especially the large granite quoins cut in such a way to curve gracefully around the outside corners, and granite is used elsewhere on the house as both foundational and decorative elements.
The interior has 2,600 square feet on the first and second floors, with another 500 finished square feet in the basement. Many elegant original interior features were handcrafted and remain, including the original five-paneled solid oak front door, interior pocket doors, wood flooring and more.
In 1893, just four years after the home was completed, a severe economic depression spread across America, and in 1895 Muzzy was forced to leave his magnificent home and lived once again as a gardener and fruit grower at Third Avenue and Haven Street.
In 1903, Irish immigrant Patrick Shine purchased the historic home for $5,000. He died in 1934 and his wife, Mary, lived there until she died in 1954. Shine was a noted attorney with offices in the Peyton and Fernwell buildings and Symons Block. He was appointed consulate commissioner to British Columbia, Alberta and Saskatchewan and was active in Democratic Party politics.
The Shines added a solarium to the northeast side of the house and also built a Craftsman-style brick masonry garage. During their residency they joined with a growing remodeling trend in housing and converted portions of the second floor into two one-bedroom apartments. Under subsequent owners the house was further modified to create two apartments on the first floor and one in the basement. In 2007, new owners began restoration efforts on the house. In 2011, it was purchased on a short sale by Keith and Kendra Kelley, who are raising their three young daughters there and are “continuing the effort to restore this old gem to its original splendor,” Keith Kelley said.
Kelley moved to Spokane in 2001 as director of Whitworth University’s Center for Service-Learning and Community Engagement, and when his institution began a partnership with the West Central neighborhood, he moved there – first into one small house, then another and when the “mansion” became available, the Kelleys were drawn to it for their growing family.
“We love this neighborhood,” said Kelley, who is currently working on a project to save from scheduled demolition several classic older homes nearby by finding nonprofits and others willing to move them to other lots. “Half of this neighborhood borders the (Spokane) river. It has tree-lined streets, historic older homes and has a real front porch culture. This is a place where the neighbors know each other.”
Even so, he admitted the house isn’t a perfect fit for them. “It’s a little awkward for us to move into a house this grand; it’s probably more grandiose than we are,” he said. “But it gives us the opportunity to be stewards of something wonderful, where every detail was made by hand. Even the doorknobs and hinges appear to be hand-forged. You just don’t see that anymore.”
The Muzzy-Shine House was listed on the Spokane Register of Historic Homes in 2008 and on the National Register in 2012. It is slowly returning to single-family status, although a small studio apartment remains on a section of the main floor, and there’s one in the basement as well. Everything takes time, observed Kelley, who has left his position at Whitworth and now operates Kelley Rental Properties, specializing in the rental of vintage older homes, and also operates a general contracting business.
Before moving in, the family had to install a new HVAC system and redo electrical and plumbing. There will be a new roof this spring and repairs to the brick and wood elements of the exterior, including installation of wood-framed windows, rebuilding of porches and four colors of paint to again make it “an elegant painted lady.” Period lighting fixtures have been installed, and the refurbishing of the interior continues.
They realize they have their work cut out for them. “I know we’re in a little over our heads with what we have to do here, and we understand that restoring an old home is a very expensive hobby,” Kelley observed.
But he and his wife are determined that the old mansion will be what it once was – a spectacular Queen Anne family home.
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