J.J. Browne

John J. Browne

J.J. Browne, one of several individuals instrumental to the development of Spokane, arrives in Spokane with his wife and infant son April of 1878.  Arriving in a town of approximately 50 residents, J.J. Browne and partner A.M. Cannon purchased half interest in James Glover’s 120 acres.  This purchased land will later become the heart of Spokane.


Browne purchased another section of land south of the river and to the west of the downtown area.  This area was developed into Browne’s Addition.  In the spring of 1879, at the present day address of 1717 West Pacific, Browne built his first house.  With the arrival of each child a new addition was built.  Browne’s Addition eventually became home to the affluent and prominent of Spokane.


Browne, a highly successful businessman was associated in the construction of the first railway and one of the founders of the first newspaper, the Spokane Chronicle.  Browne, in partnership with A.M. Cannon built an auditorium, and at the time was the finest theater in the west.  Browne also held interests in Spokane Mill Company and the Spokane Cracker Company.


All of Browne’s business adventures were successful except one, Browne National Bank failed in 1893.  The bank failed in the panic that swept throughout the country.  Browne however, assumed the obligations of the bank and not a creditor suffered any loss.


Although Browne was Spokane’s first attorney, he only practiced law for approximately 6-7 years.  In 1885 he gave up his law practice to focus on his business adventures.

To learn more vist History of Law, Spokane County Washington.
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