The Campbell Family of Spokane

The article is the work of Georgi Krom, a member of the Board of the Queen Anne Historical Society and a Spokane native.  The article traces the history of Spokane’s Campbell House whose twin, the Stimson-Green Mansion on Terry Avenue at Spring, was designed for C. D. and Harriet Stimson who moved there from Queen Anne.
Campbell House in Browne’s Addition Spokane

There is a house in the Spokane neighborhood of Browne’s Addition that is almost a twin to the Stimson-Green Mansion in Seattle.  Architect Kirtland Cutter used a similar floor plan in 1898 to create an English Tudor mansion for a wealthy family — Amasa, Grace and Helen Campbell.  The book Campbell House  by historian John Fahey describes the business and social activities of this era.

Amasa Campbell was an ambitious bachelor who came from Youngstown, Ohio with partner John Finch to speculate in mines in the Coeur d’Alene district.  At age 45 Amasa proposed marriage to a young schoolteacher, Grace Fox, 31.  They started their life in Wallace, Idaho in 1890 at a time when silver and lead mines began to flourish.

Campbell and Finch were not mining experts, but they attracted wealthy investors from Ohio, Milwaukee and Montana who purchased shares in the mines.  These successful investments were later expanded into banking, retail, and logging businesses.

Campbell and Finch made fortunes for themselves and their partners and formed associations to fight organized labor.  Workers in the mines were making $3.00 per 10-hour day.  Mines were shutting down in bitter union disputes, there was an explosion of a processing mill in 1892, and gunfire and deaths were occurring.  Fearing violence against his family, Amasa sent Grace to Spokane where she gave birth to their only child Helen.

The family later moved permanently to Spokane with John Finch and his new wife, purchasing adjoining lots in the Browne’s Addition neighborhood.  Amasa and Grace built an English Tudor, and the Finch mansion was a neoclassical design.  Their lawyer, W.J.C. Wakefield, lived between them in a Mission Revival home.  Fellow mining investor Patsy Clark also had a nearby mansion, and all of these grand places were designed by prominent Spokane architect Kirtland Cutter.

The Campbell home featured a 15-page interior plan from a Cleveland decorator with extensive wallpaper and fabric designs.  A central hot water heating system, servant call box, and a cold storage room were new technologies Cutter used again at the Seattle Stimson-Green mansion in 1901.  This Tudor on First Hill has similar rooms to the Campbell house but is a reversed floor plan.

The Campbell lifestyle in Spokane at the turn of the century was affluent, social and formal.  Their French rococo reception room greeted visitors who would often stay for only fifteen minutes, leaving calling cards behind in a silver tray.  Dinner parties called for elegant gowns and jewelry and the family would dress formally even when they dined alone.  Servants worked in the back of the home and would be summoned by a call button under the dining table.  The Campbells employed five to seven live-in servants, and friends in their circle often shared or hired away good cooks or maids.

Grace Campbell focused on their child and running her household.  Women’s clubs in this era talked about suffrage, civics and politics.  Grace supported the temperance movement and cast her first vote for President in 1916.

Life was less formal for the Campbell’s daughter Helen.  Looser clothing than her mother’s allowed her to play tennis and enjoy camping trips with friends.  Her short bob was considered daring.  Motion pictures, telephones and automobiles were popular for Helen and people in all classes.

The financial panic of 1907, a new federal income tax in 1913, and World War I affected the spending of the Gilded Age families.  Amasa died of throat cancer in 1912 and Grace continued to live in the Campbell House, enjoying visits from Helen and her family.  After living in the home for twenty-six years, Grace died in 1924.

Grace Campbell, ca. 1923

Helen gave the Campbell house to local historical groups.  The contents of the home were sold at auction and it became a public museum in 1926.  It also served as an office for the Eastern Washington State Historical Society for thirty years.

In 1960 a new museum opened on the east lawn and the home began its transformation back to its original state.  Volunteers retraced lost furniture, uncovered original wall coverings, and recreated vintage hardware and windows.  An original wrought iron fireplace andiron was recovered from a fraternity house, and family descendants donated many personal items.

By Spokane’s Expo ’74 the Campbell House was listed on the National Register of Public Places.  Public tours are offered and many of these original homes still stand together in the Browne’s Addition neighborhood of Spokane.  You can imagine their owners hosting parties, traveling together, and leading a Downton Abbey style of life over the turn of their century.

Just like these early families, today’s tech billionaires are clustering together in Medina, Hunts Point and West Bellevue compounds.  Income inequality is still a huge challenge.  History does repeat itself.

Source for photos and content: Campbell House, copyright 2005 by historian John Fahey, with Larry Schoonover, Director of Exhibits and Programs, Marsha Rooney, Curator of History and Patti Larkin, Curator of Campbell House.

A special thanks to Paul Huetter, Coeur d’Alene, Idaho.

Kirtland Kelsey Cutter 1860-1939

This article traces the life and work of architect Kirtland Cutter, whose early career transformed Spokane.  The article is the work of Georgi Krom, a member of the Board of the Queen Anne Historical Society and a Spokane native.  Although Kirtland Cutter did no work in our Queen Anne neighborhood, two of his important clients — C. D. and Harriet Stimson — moved from Queen Anne to the house he designed for them at the intersection of Terry Avenue and Spring Street, today called the Stimson Green Mansion. The Rainier Club, also Cutter’s work, probably influenced many design choices among its wealthy members, many of whom lived in Queen Anne.
The Arts and Crafts movement was a powerful, worldwide force in art and architecture.  Historian Lawrence Kreisman  showcases this era in his Oct 13, 2020 lecture for the Queen Anne Historical Society.  You can hear his talk by clicking HERE.  His book, The Arts and Crafts Movement in the Pacific Northwest, also describes this fascinating time period.

Beautifully designed furniture, decorative arts, and homes were in high demand from consumers in booming new cities.  Local, natural materials of logs, shingles and stone were plentiful in the west and creative architects were needed.  One of them was Kirtland Kelsey Cutter, who worked in Spokane, Seattle, and California.  His imagination reflected the artistic values of that era — from rustic chapels and distinctive homes to glorious public spaces of great beauty.  He was one of the most important architects in our state.

Cutter was born in Cleveland in 1860, the grandson of a distinguished naturalist.  A love of nature was an essential part of Kirtland’s work and he integrated garden design and natural, local materials into his plans.  He studied painting and sculpture in New York and spent several years traveling and studying in Europe.  This exposure to art and culture abroad influenced his taste and the style of his architecture.  The rural buildings of Europe inspired him throughout his career.

Cutter personal residence, Spokane.

…Continue reading “Kirtland Kelsey Cutter 1860-1939”

History of a Queen Anne Club

By Georgi Krom with historian Pam Miles

Women’s clubs ignited in popularity throughout the United States in the late nineteenth
century. Even before they could vote, women wanted to better themselves and their communities. One of these clubs is still going strong today after 125 years — the Queen Anne Fortnightly Club.

The first meeting was held at the home of founder Anna J. Sheafe on Sept. 20, 1894. The club’s primary purpose was literary. Members would give talks on topics that would change annually. Sheafe (1847-1920), served as president for 13 years until 1907. Her home at the corner of Queen Anne Avenue and Prospect held many meetings in the early years of the club.

Fortnightly Club ca. 1900

Another prominent member, Anna Herr Clise (1866-1936), was the founder of Children’s Orthopedic Hospital on Queen Anne in 1907. After her five-year-old son, Willis, died of inflammatory rheumatism, Clise researched the lack of treatment for children in Seattle and called together several friends to organize a 23-woman board of directors, recruit physicians and create the first orthopedic facility for children on the West Coast. Located at on Crockett Street between Warren Ave N. and  Boston , the hilltop location served patients from 1908 through 1953. It is now the Queen Anne Manor, a senior living community.

Anna Herr Clise (1866-1936)

Clise and Fortnightly colleague Harriet Stimson (1862-1936), also advanced the hospital’s first guilds. Friends gathered monthly to support specific projects needed for patients. Member Nellie W. Lane (1857-1937), organized Queen Anne as the first guild, followed by Madison Park, Beacon Hill, Broadway, Denny Blaine and Renton. These early guilds later expanded into a vital network across the state and still provide ongoing support for today’s Seattle Children’s Hospital.

Funding for the first ambulance in Seattle was initiated by the Fortnightly club in June, 1899. Two years later members sent out a traveling library car filled with books, “The Fortnightly,” which traveled to remote logging camps. In this civic minded era, women used their skills and influence to benefit a growing region.

Fortnightly Club members – 1946

This photo shows the Fortnightly club in 1946. Annette Bocker, (second from right) (1896-1976), was featured in the Seattle Post-Intelligencer for her work in science. She owned and managed a clinical research lab.

Member Mary Bass Bayley (1874-1959), became a noted painter at age 78, inspired by her neighbor, Northwest painter Morris Graves. He encouraged her to paint with tempera, lifting her spirits during a time of grave illness. She went on to exhibit her work two years later in a one-woman show at the Dusanne Gallery.

By this time the club had grown in its membership. Meetings were held every two weeks (fortnightly) and included a yearly evening social event where husbands could attend. Members in the 1990s gave speeches at meetings on International Politics, China, the Olympic Games, Immigration and Northwest Foods and Wines. The club’s extensive historical archives have reports from its earliest days to the present.

The modern Fortnightly club includes professional and retired women in the fields of education, aerospace, real estate, design, psychology, and writing. Several women followed their mothers into the club and are active participants today.

Member Gretchen Claflin is the first woman to be named CEO of a national graduate school of banking. Treasurer Kay Heron was the Board Chair of the Seattle Children’s Guild Association for 2 years and on Seattle Children’s Hospital Board for 25 years. Since Fortnightly helped launch the hospital and guilds in its earliest days, this recent service seems fitting.

At its 125th Celebration Event last November, a speech was given by Betty Eberharter, Fortnightly member since 1973. “The first eight women chartered a club that has continued to educate and
enrich the lives of Queen Anne ladies throughout twelve and a half decades, despite depression,
inflation, population explosion and war. Society today little resembles that time,” she noted. “Fortnightly membership is for life. As members grow older and wiser they are cherished. Second and fourth Thursdays are times for sharing and expanding horizons in an atmosphere of warmth and deep lasting friendship.”

Fortnightly Club members – 2019.

The Fortnightly club today is a group of 27 members, and some of them are shown here at a recent meeting. Seated from left to right, Betty Eberharter, Kay Heron; middle row from left, President Cindy Pierce, Alicia Arter, Karen Tripson, Mary Beth Dart, Pam Miles; back row from left, Gretchen Claflin, Joy Goodenough

We continue to learn so much from each other. 

Sources: “Women’s Club Movement in Washington,” by Karen J. Blair, Ph.D., HistoryLink.org; “A Place for the Children, A Personal History of Children’s Orthopedic Hospital and Medical Center,” by Emilie B. Schwabacher; “Children’s Hospital to Queen Anne Manor: Memories of Care Become Memory Care,” by Michael Herschensohn, Ph.D. for the Queen Anne Historical Society; and the Queen Anne Fortnightly archives.