As we mentioned last time, our story, according to the book “Manito Park: A Reflection Of Spokane’s Past”, by Tony and Suzanne Bamonte of Tornado Creek Publications, Inc. is coming to a close. Today’s article is almost the last and will begin the Bamonte’s account of the many different areas and features of our beloved Manito Park.
We will begin the whole series again here in a few weeks and post them to both www.ManitoPark.org as well as www.ManitoParkOrg.blogspot.com. Tune back in and catch up on some of the earlier chapters you may have missed.
Here’s the beginning of our wrap-up:
A TOUR OF MANITO PARK TODAY – Parts 1 through 3:
1. DUNCAN GARDENS: The formal European Renaissance style gardens, directly south of the Gaiser Conservatory, were originally called the Sunken Gardens, In February of 1941, they were officially renamed in honor of Park Superintendent John W. Duncan, who designed and began developing them in 1912. During his tenure, the gardens contained many diversified plant species, including rose and perennial gardens. A grapevine-covered arbor was located near the rose garden at the southern end (the gardens have since been extended farther south). Over the years, the gardens have undergone a number of revisions. In 1996, under the direction of Jim Flott, Horticultural Manager for Manito, and Debbie Clem-Olsen, landscape architect, the most recent renovation was completed. At a cost of about $35,000, funded primarily through Friends of Manito and Associated Garden Clubs of Spokane, the ratio of floral gardens to lawn was increased. A vibrant array of colorful annuals make Duncan Gardens a popular site for summer chamber music concerts and weddings, and provides a scenic backdrop for photographers. The focal point of the garden is a large granite fountain, donated in 1956 in memory of Louis M. Davenport by his wife Verus and son Lewis M. Davenport. Davenport was a longtime park supporter and park board member.
2. GAISER CONSERVATORY: Construction of the present greenhouses at Manito Park were completed in April of 1974, replacing those built on the same site in 1912. The first greenhouses (moved from Liberty Park in 1904) were near the 20th Street entrance to the park. In 1988 the central dome was enlarged and dedicated to the memory of Dr. David Gaiser , longtime park patron and former park board member appointed by Mayor Neal Fosseen. This popular attraction, which contains tropical, subtropical and temperate plant specimens from around the world, is open to the public, free of charge, year around.
3. JOEL E. FERRIS PERENNIAL GARDEN: This garden, established by John Duncan around 1940, is located directly north of the office building. It was named in honor of a former park board member and popular civic leader following his death in 1960. With over 300 plant species – all identified by markers – it is an ever-changing array of colors and textures during the growing season. It is an informal counterpart to the Duncan Garden’s formal style. A memorial bird bath fountain, located at the southeast corner of the garden, was donated to the park by Mr. and Mrs. Alfred Hengen in memory of their daughter, Helen Hengen, a young Spangle aviatrix who lost her life in 1945 on her final flight for her pilot’s license. The bird bath is in the center of the Hummingbird and Butterfly Garden.
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