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The stories of Rose Hill and Nishinomiya Garden 


We have been visiting all the various venues of Manito Park, and here are sections 4 & 5 from the book “Manito Park: A Reflection Of Spokane’s Past”, by Tony and Suzanne Bamonte of Tornado Creek Publications, Inc.

4. ROSE HILL: Situated on the hill West of the perennial garden, the formal beds contain about 1,500 rose bushes in over 150 varieties. Old-fashioned roses border sections of the garden, reminiscent of the profusion of roses growing wild at the time Francis Cook named it Montrose Park (“mountains of roses”). Manito Park is the site of many memorials, especially in the rose garden. A pergola, composed of 14 Tuscan columns for climbing roses, honors the late professional photographer Erna Bert Nelson, a generous benefactor to Spokane parks. The nearby sundial is a memorial to the two sons of Mr. and Mrs. R. Jackson Wortman. Jacob J. Wortman died at age 15 after a lingering illness. Ward K. Wortman, a fighter pilot in the Air Corps, was killed in action. Numerous rose bushes have also been donated as memorials.

John Duncan conceived the idea of the rose garden on Rose Hill and, before his retirement, planted some domestic roses along the hillside below. However, the cooperative project between Spokane Parks and Recreation Department and the Spokane Rose Society did not materialize until Harold Abbott’s tenure as park superintendent. In 1948 the Rose Society proposed a rose garden be established at Manito to serve as both a test garden and for memorial roses. Two years later, they donated $500 to launch the project. In 1998, for the eighth time, the showcase display earned Rose Hill the national All-American Rose Selections Award for Outstanding Maintenance.

5. NISHINOMIYA JAPENESE GARDEN: In 1961 Mayor Neal Fosseen and his wife, Helen, initiated a Sister City program between Spokane and Nishinomiya, Japan. The concept of this Japanese garden emerged as a symbol of this relationship; Nishinomiya reciprocated by planting a lilac garden in Japan. Following years of planning, fund raising, construction and landscaping, the garden was dedicated as part of Expo ’74.

This beautifully artistic garden, in the corner of Manito Park bounded by Bernard and 21st, is sustained by the dedicated efforts of numerous individuals. The Japanese community’s active involvement is led by Ed Tsutakawa, who chose the site and was instrumental in its early development. Nagao Sakurai, former chief landscape architect for the Imperial Palace in Tokyo, designed the garden. Before its completion, Mr. Sakurai suffered a stroke, leaving him partially paralyzed. With the critical assistance of Polly Mitchell Judd (then-president of Spokane Federation of Gardeners) and Ed Tsutakawa, Mr. Sakurai continued supervising, with painstaking precision, from his wheelchair, until his deteriorating health forced his return to Japan.
 
 
Manito Park: A Reflection of Spokane’s Past 

 

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