West Central is a neighborhood in Spokane, WA. As the name implies, it is located in the heart of the city on the west bank of the river. Downtown Spokane is located immediately east of the neighborhood and extends into West Central along Monroe Street in the Kendall Yards district, which is located in the Kendall Yards neighborhood.
With single and multi-family residential zones dating back to the founding of Spokane, a new mixed use development on the site of a former rail yard, the Spokane County Courthouse campus and associated government buildings, as well as a few commercial districts, the neighborhood has something for everyone.
Along the southern and western boundaries of the neighborhood, the Spokane River gorge snakes its way through it. Among its many attractions is the Nettleton’s Addition Historic District, which was added to the National Register of Historic Places in March 2006 and is also the largest historic district listed on the Washington State Heritage Register (as of 2005).
The Spokane people have been in the area now known as West Central for thousands of years, according to historical records. Fishing camps were developed along the banks of the river in order to take advantage of the abundant salmon runs in the surrounding area. The construction of a dam downstream in 1915, which did not include a fish ladder, brought the salmon runs to a screeching halt, thus ending them.
The first European settlement in the area was established in 1879 by Colonel Jenkins, who established a homestead in what is now West Central. When William Nettleton purchased and platted 278 acres in the area in 1887, he was a driving force behind the development of the neighborhood. The Spokane County Courthouse, located on Broadway, a block west of Monroe, at the eastern edge of the neighborhood, was finished in 1895 and is still standing today.
After a bridge connecting it to the downtown core was built in the early twentieth century, the neighborhood became known as a middle-class suburb of the city center. Several architectural styles, including American Craftsman, Bungalow, Queen Anne and Victorian, were represented in the neighborhood.
As the area grew during this time period, railroads began to dominate the southern portion of the community. Kendall Yards was established by the Northern Pacific Railroad and the Union Pacific Railroad, which constructed down tracks there.
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