The oldest neighborhood in Spokane is simultaneously sophisticated and unpolished. Kirtland Cutter mansions developed for early 19th century aristocrats share fences with low-income apartment buildings, creating a diverse and engaging atmosphere that is treasured by many.
However, historic preservation of the neighborhood is being neglected. Tasteful and informational signs that label some of the most notable historic homes are faded and weathered. Many are completely illegible. Some of the houses behind the signs are not much better, a result of both age and owner neglect.
The Spokane City Council voted in May for an emergency moratorium of the demolition of homes in Browne’s Addition. This verdict came after two homes were demolished in favor of cheap, vinyl-sided townhouses. The new and upscale residences disrupt the aesthetic Browne’s Addition has long fostered.
The council did the right thing in recognizing the problem. However, if the historic nature of Browne’s Addition is to be protected, it must be on all fronts. The unique dignity of the neighborhood must be upheld. Bringing awareness to why the buildings should be protected, such as restoring the signs, is a good place to start.