Historic Properties of Spokane
The Renstrom-Leigh House is a fine example of the Queen Anne style with strong influence from two of the style’s subtypes: Free Classic and Spindlework. Free Classic elements are expressed in the home’s corbelled cornices, frieze bands, cornice returns, and horizontal clapboard siding while Spindlework elements are depicted as delicate embellishments found in turned posts and cut-away windows with scroll-sawn fretwork and lathe-turned pendant drops. Defining Queen Anne-style features include the home’s strong vertical orientation, irregular footprint and hip roof, multiple cross-gables, beveled and box bays, and prominent wrap-around front porch at the first floor. An unusual design feature of the house is a diagonal box bay located above the wrap-around porch at the second-floor at the northwest corner of the home’s facade. This design feature is unique to the Renstrom-Leigh House and has not been found on any other house in the surrounding neighborhood. One of the first two homes erected in Booge’s Addition, the property was built in 1895 for teamster and wholesale grocery porter, Gustaf A. Renstrom and his wife, Anna Renstrom. Four years later in 1899, Walter E. & Anna King Leigh bought the property. A prominent Spokane citizen and an accomplished and successful attorney, Walter Leigh helped found several Spokane law practices (Rockrock & Leigh, Buck King & Leigh, and Leigh & Pattullo), invested in area mining properties, and was owner/president of the Great Northern Land Company which specialized in “real estate, farm lands, loans & insurance.” Noted in a Spokane newspaper as a “pioneer Spokane family,” the Leighs lived in the Renstrom-Leigh House for 21 years from 1899 to 1920 where they raised six children. In March 2007, Home & Garden TV (HGTV) filmed the Renstrom-Leigh House to be included in the popular show “If These Walls Could Talk.” The TV segment will include the recent discovery of cancelled checks, printed stationery, notes, children’s books, magazines, and a rare collection of love letters which were found by the current homeowners under mounds of insulation and loose floorboards in the home’s third-floor unfinished attic. The love letters were addressed to Miss Muriel Leigh, Walter & Anna Leigh’s daughter, in 1916 while the family lived at the property. HGTV announced the segment will air on national television sometime in 2007.