Currie House

Currie House0001
When he reached the age of 21 the young English emigre architect Wm. J. Carpenter apparently took Horace Greeley’s advice to heart.  Thinking his opportunities would be better in the “west” he left the family in Baltimore-next stop El Paso, Texas in 1887.  He honed his architectural  skills there by collaborating on the design of the Merick Building (National Register) and the Myer Opera House, and acted as manager of the latter after its completion.

Moving on to Spokane,  Washington in 1887 he found a frenzied building boom underway.  At the age of 25 he received his FIRST independent commission to design a Victorian residence for entrepreneur John A. Currie.  The landmark structure, still standing at 908 W. Frederick Avenue, was listed on the Spokane Register of Historic Places on November 17, 1999. The description from that application follows:

“The Currie House is an exceptional example of Queen Anne architecture and is one of the oldest homes in Spokane. Constructed in 1889, the home was designed by master architect William J. Carpenter and was built for mining entrepreneur and city councilman John A. Currie. As one of the earliest homes built in north Spokane, the home is a testament to the success of early development and settlement of the area. The two-and-one-half story home displays a combination of Queen Anne style elements including a steeply pitched roof with a large front facing dormer, exterior wall cladding and trim depicting various patterns, materials, and colors, vertical windows with transom lights, and a full-width front porch with decorative brackets. Over 100 years old, the Currie House retains both interior and exterior architectural integrity.”

DSCN1125

Interior & exterior of tower.

It was reported by Mike Prager, Crosstown Neighbors Nov. 8, 2001 that the history of the home was scheduled for the “If Walls Could Talk” show on Home & Garden Television of Nov. 12, 2001 , but I have not been able to recover it. Perhaps some reader will have more successful and give us a link to it.  Part of the announcement read:  After going through a series of owners and renovations the property was purchased by the J. Dailing family in 1997, when extensive restorations were commenced. Faded pink shingles were removed from the front turret and the original pattern of intricate fish scale shingles was uncovered. Original frescoes and friezes were uncovered inside, and restored. Pieces of old woodwork found in the basement were reinstalled wherever possible.

A reader has raised the possibility that the Architect also painted the friezes and frescoes of the inteior, but we have not been able to make accreditation of this. We do note a similarity between two watercolor paintings of wildflowers in a family collection with the flowers depicted on the walls of the residence. Perhaps some other reader can provide us with more information about this similarity.

We have recently been advised of the sale of this property and of a planned restoration.  We wish the best to the new owners and ask that they keep us posted on their progress.

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  1. Hay Jack……the remodel of the house is currently underway. i have replaced every stitch of plumbing and electrical and new walls are going back up now. as i was tearing down walls i found some papers signed by your grandfather to purchase lumber for the lowenburg-roberts mansion down the road. the next step is to finish removing all the paint from the woodwork and refinish the softwood floors.
    we love this home and are so excited to live there. we have developed a facebook page to follow the remodel of Forest Home, i will post the link soon for all to follow the progress. your grandaddy was one heck of an architect, this is the most sound home ive ever worked on.

    Kris


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