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The Spokesman-Review Newspaper
Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883

Cannon Streetcar historic district becomes official with mayor’s signature

Spokane Mayor Nadine Woodward, center, holds the signed document officially designating the Cannon Streetcar Suburb as a Historic District on Wednesday in Spokane. Gathered at a historic home on West 11th Avenue are neighbors, along with Megan Duvall, Spokane historic preservation officer, in red, and Spokane City Councilwoman Lori Kinnear, far right.  (DAN PELLE/THE SPOKESMAN-REVIEW)

Historic homes on the west side of the South Hill have a new level of protection after Mayor Nadine Woodward on Wednesday put the final stamp on the creation of a new historic district.

The long journey didn’t just lead to the protection of the neighborhood’s tree-lined streets and historic facades , but it also brought many residents of the Cannon Streetcar Suburb Historic District closer together.

Neighbors shared coffee, donuts and celebratory cheers as Woodward made the district official Wednesday morning. One neighbor wiped away a tear.

The historic district was first proposed by Spokane City Councilwoman Lori Kinnear in 2018. The effort was delayed by the COVID-19 pandemic, though.

Neighbors picked up the effort again last year. Nick Reynolds moved into the Cannon neighborhood in 2007, drawn to the large tree-lined streets with old brick reappearing where pavement has crumbled away.

In 2020, he bought the Otto and Catherine Hansen House, 1220 W. 11th Ave. The craftsman-style home built in 1908 has many of the features Reynolds loves about the neighborhood.

Reynolds and a group of about eight to 10 neighbors revived the effort to create the historic district, now Spokane’s largest. One of those neighbors was Melissa Flynn, who recently bought a historic home in Cannon with her wife, Abil Bradshaw.

The pair jumped right in to the effort to create a historic registry and made friends in the process, Flynn said.

“We’re all friends now,” Flynn said. “It’s so cool.”

The group went door to door, talking with their neighbors about what the district would mean. The creation of the district makes homeowners eligible for some tax breaks and grants to improve their properties. The designation means proposals to tear down or change a building’s exterior need to be reviewed by the Spokane City-County Historic Preservation Office and the Historic Landmarks Commission. Smaller changes, like paint colors, don’t require the extra reviews.

“It was a big effort,” Reynolds said.

In November, 56% of property owners voted in favor of creating the district. The City Council unanimously approved the district earlier this month.

“This is not an easy effort and it takes hard work from neighbors and the homeowners,” Woodward said. “And so I applaud you for that work.”

Some neighbors and developers expressed concerns that meeting the historic district requirements would limit high-density housing in the neighborhood, which is already one of the most dense in Spokane. Renters didn’t get to vote in November.

The historic district will preserve what’s already here, which is a dense, diverse neighborhood, Kinnear said. The designation will preserve the affordable housing already in place in the area, she said.

Reynolds, who works in portfolio management at Washington Trust Bank, was recently appointed to the Spokane Landmark Commission, where he said he’s excited to continue the work he started in Cannon.