One of the grandest homes in the Rockwood National Register Historic District was erected for pioneer attorney Edward J. Cannon and his wife, Helen, in 1911. The brick home in the Colonial Revival style is part of Spokane’s most exclusive and historic neighborhoods.
Cannon, born in Wisconsin in 1866. He received his legal training in St. Paul, Minn., and practiced law there until moving to Spokane in 1906. By that time, he was the division counsel for the Northern Pacific Railroad. He went on to represent other railroads, insurance companies and banks during his 28 years of practice in Spokane. He was called “brilliant” and a “model trial lawyer” by his peers.
Cannon was one of the founders of the Gonzaga University Law School, which opened in 1912. At that time, the school consisted of just two classrooms, and no law library. The students had to use the Spokane County Bar Association library across town. Within a year, a basic set of law books had been purchased and a room set aside for them. Cannon, addition to his own clients, served as the school’s dean for more than 20 years.
The developer of the now-historic Rockwood neighborhood instituted what might have been the first neighborhood covenants attached to the deed for each lot. These included items such as setbacks and rules against commercial buildings. But the most significant was that the homes there had to cost $6000 or more, an astronomical sum at the time. The rules also demanded that “no outhouse or barn shall be erected.” The Cannons spent $30,000 on their new home, which was designed by Earl W. Morrison and built by Amil T. Johnson.
A 2005 story in the Spokesman-Review about the home noted that the home’s foundation, perched on a steep hillside, had shifted, causing cracks to show in the exterior. According the real estate agent now listing the home, it has undergone extensive renovations which include a whole new foundation. The asking price is $1.2 million.
Cannon died in 1934.
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