Rockwood is a neighborhood in the city of Spokane, in the state of Washington. On the south side of the city, to the southeast of Downtown Spokane, and growing southeasterly from the vicinity of the city center, it is known as South Spokane. Because of its proximity to downtown, it is considered to be one of Spokane’s older neighborhoods, with mature trees line the majority of its streets.
Because of Rockwood’s placement on a hill rising up from the Spokane River Valley, the street grid is disrupted in a number of locations around the neighborhood. These are particularly noticeable along Rockwood Boulevard, which winds its way from the northwesternmost corner of the community to the middle of the area and across to the neighborhood’s eastern boundary.
It is considered to be one of the most affluent neighborhoods in the greater Spokane area. There are many huge, historic homes in Rockwood; nevertheless, in stark contrast to the great number of large homes in many other historic neighborhoods surrounding the Spokane city center, the vast majority of the large homes in Rockwood continue to be used as single-family residences.
Rockwood was known as Montrose in the 1880s because of the mountainous topography and areas of wild roses that could be found in the region. Frances Cook, one of the first European immigrants in the area, was the owner of a large portion of the land that is now part of the Rockwood community.
As part of the Panic of 1893, Cook was compelled to liquidate his interests, which included the construction of a streetcar line into the area and the development of other properties. The neighborhood’s development proceeded after mining magnate Jay P. Graves purchased a large portion of the Cooks’ land and built a streetcar line that ran through the neighborhood.
This is when the Olmsted Brothers were engaged to develop and construct the Rockwood neighborhood, and this is when the neighborhood began to take on its current form. In 1910, a one-million-dollar grant was provided to support their idea. Known for its tree-lined streets and huge homes that are set well back from the curb, this region has been designated as the Rockwood Historic District.
A streetcar line connected Rockwood to the rest of the city until 1935, when the service was discontinued throughout the entire city. Along the former streetcar route, which followed Rockwood Boulevard, there are still traces of the streetcar period can be seen in some spots. A former streetcar platform originally stood on the grassy median that runs along the south and west sides of the twisting route. The original platform’s step-up appearance is carried over to the new median.
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