It was the roaring 1920s when a Spokane oil man by the name of Hawley hired the firm Whitehouse & Price to build a magnificent 6-bedroom house on Spokane’s south hill, to be perched on a slight rise at the corner of Stevens Street and Shoshone Place. The style would be Tudor Revival: a steeply pitched roof, cross-gabled, with a charming clinker brick exterior and bright white trim. His motivation was romantic, a grand gesture of affection for his wife.
She was smitten with the surprise, and in the nine decades since, several families and their guests have come to feel quite the same way. Even among the incredible houses that ring Cannon Hill Park, the Hawley house stands out for its charm.
But Hawley was not only affectionate toward his wife; he deeply valued friendship. His best friend in the world, who was of Middle Eastern descent, often used the Arabic saying “there is salt between us.” Salt was a precious commodity throughout most of history, so sharing salt in that region of the world became a powerful symbol for friendship. Hawley felt this friendship so deeply that he had the saying inscribed above the fireplace in the large downstairs smoking room, where the men shared after-dinner cigars and laughter under the box-beam ceiling.
The warmth and light that has graced one of Spokane’s most iconic homes is still evident to the families who have raised their families in it or neighbors who have simply stopped by for a cup of coffee or a summer garden party. It’s hard not to be swept off your feet while looking out across the Cannon Hill Park pond.
“The moments I’ll miss most are those of Christmastime,” says current homeowner Gene Jakubczak. “It’s a scene out of Norman Rockwell: families playing in the snow, ice skaters on the pond, and then Christmas Eve, when all the neighbors gather in the park around a big fire to sing carols.”
While it may not have been painted by Rockwell, Gene and his wife Molly Myers-Jakubczak recently noticed a familiar-looking scene on a postcard at a neighborhood store. It was their home, laden in snow and surrounded by neighbors preparing to ice skate. Local artist Patti Simpson Ward had depicted their house in her painting “Shimmering Snowfall on Cannon Hill (Hawley House).” And not just the house, but one of the images of it they’ll always remember.
As legend has it, the home was quite literally born out of the neighborhood. The park’s pond was dreamed up by the famed Olmsted Brothers firm to utilize a depression in the ground. The site’s previous use was a brickyard, and the depression came from a large clay deposit that was harvested and turned into bricks: the same bricks that still serve as the surface of Shoshone Place, and cover the exterior of 2021 South Stevens. That’s about as local as building materials get.
As important as it was to maintain historic features, which has been done meticulously, Molly raised her six kids here. “We certainly made it functional; we love this house and have kept it and restored it with its history in mind. But we never wanted it to feel like a museum; this is a family home.”
Never was that more apparent than when her six adult children gathered for one last Christmas at the house. In preparation for their downsizing, Molly and Gene had laid out a large pile of belongings for each of them on the oak floor in the formal living room. The artifacts dated back to preschool art projects.
It was an emotional scene, walking back through so much family history together in their historic home. The siblings joked that they all would get matching tattoos when the house is finally sold. The design? Of course, it would be a replica of those warm words above the fire: There Is Salt Between Us.
Learn how INB Home Loan Consultant, Candace Lugviel, helps customers like The Jakubczak's HERE or call 509-979-5152.