AKA: Shadle, E.A., and Josie Comstock, House, Cliff/Cannon, Spokane, WA

Structure Type: built works - dwellings - houses

Designers: Ritchie, Willis, A., Architect (firm); Willis Alexander Ritchie (architect)

Dates: constructed 1910-1911

2 stories

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1112 West 9th Avenue
Cliff/Cannon, Spokane, WA 99204

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Building History

New Yorker James Comstock moved to Spokane Falls in 1889 and quickly became enmeshed in the city's business community, first opening the firm Comstock & Patterson Company, then serving as Vice-President of its successor firm, the Spokane Dry Goods Company, that became the Crescent Department Store. Comstock also had real estate interests, as President of the Dry Good Realty Company. (The Comstock Family, itself, built four houses in early Spokane.) Well-connected, he also served two years as Spokane's Mayor (1899-1901) and multiple terms on its city council between 1894 and 1899. He erected this residence for his daughter, Josie (c. 1871-12/31/1954), who married Eugene A. Shadle (c. 1870-01/31/1944), who became a Treasurer of Comstock's realty concern and Trustee of the Spokane Dry Goods Company. They resided here from 1912-1920. They then moved into another, larger house by architect Willis A. Ritchie at 1106 West 9th Avenue next door at 1106 West 9th Avenue, James Comstock's own house.

Ritchie migrated to WA State just after the fires in Seattle and Spokane of 1889. Ambitious and driven, Ritchie won many competitions for county courthouses throughout the state in the early 1890s, irritating his professional peers with his meteoric success. He became unpopular among architects (and building contractors), and this may have contributed to his loss of work by the late 1890s and into the twentieth century. Also, Ritchie was not an university-trained designer, as he got his training via a correspondence course; academic credentials became important for architects during the first decades of the twentieth century. Following his successful design of the Spokane County Courthouse, Ritchie settled in Spokane, and led a quiet, modestly successful practice.

Building Notes

The City of Spokane's Historic Preservation Office described the Shadle-Comstock Residence: "Characteristic of the [Tudor Revival] style, the home displays a steeply pitched roof with a slight flare at the eaves, multiple cross gables, three prominent front-facing gables at the facade, deep bargeboards with tapered tails, a covered front porch at the first floor, corner boards, and false half-timbering with stucco infill. Influenced by the Craftsman style, the front porch has a low-pitched hip roof and is supported by thick square wood columns. The porch deck is supported by a foundation made of black basalt rock. A steeply pitched gabled portico projects over the front steps at the porch roof and is embellished with false half-timbering." (See "Shadle-Comstock House,"Accessed 07/29/2014.) The house's front facade featured three gables, all of varying sizes, two on the second floor, one (added later) covering the main entryway. Architect Willis A. Ritchie (1864-1931) created an almost symmetrical arrangement of gables on the second floor, but proportioned one slightly larger, to make the design less predictable. It contained four bedrooms and two-and-a-half baths, its first floor arranged on a traditional, symmetrical hall-parlor plan, with a dining room and living room separated by a central entry hall. The hall also contained a grand staircase leading to the second floor and led to a secluded library that could be closed off with pocket doors. Off the dining room, a butler's pantry served as storage for the connected kitchen. Its interior possessed many features found in Arts and Crafts Movement dwellings, including quartersawn oak wainscoting and trim, built-in seating, bookcases and storage cabinets, boxed beams and other medievalizing features. The architect also specified the use of ceramic tiles on the front porch and around the fireplace produced by the Pasadena manufacturer, Ernest Batchelder (1875-1957), a notable and costly decorative inclusion. The second floor contained four bedrooms, two baths and a stairway to an unfinished attic. It formed part of the Comstock-Shadle Historic District, a cluster of four Tudor Revival houses, listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1994.


A second story porch on the house was altered with the residence's middle gabled dormer. The National Register nomination form done on the Shadle-Comstock House noted some of the changes done: "The kitchen in the Northwest corner of the structure was remodeled to match the original part of the house and opened to the library. The archway between the kitchen and library was trimmed in quartersawn oak in a mission pattern and dimensions to match the original woodwork. To the east of the library a laundry room was remodeled and a new entrance into the basement was configured. In the back of the house, the non-original basement entrance door was removed, and the non-original rear door and window were replaced with a three panel sliding glass door. A deck was added to the back of the house. The exterior stairs and walkway were covered by the deck and a new foundation stem wall was poured at the old basement door opening and was covered with old stone to match the original foundation. The side entrance was lowered and became the new exterior entrance to the basement. Two new skylights were installed, in the back of the house. Both are trimmed in quartersawn oak to match the original wood work. A new window in the kitchen was replaced to match the original in appearance. No work was done that is visible from the front of the house." A mother-in-law apartment and laundry room in the basement were added and modified later.

Spokane Register of Historic Places (2006-07-10): ID n/a

National Register of Historic Places: ID n/a

PCAD id: 19314