City Parks in Spokane

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Strolling through Manito Park

In 1907, an Olmsted Brothers plan recommended the construction of four large and five smaller new parks and the extensive renovations of the existing parks in Spokane. This plan had been commissioned by Aubrey L. White, who was both the first president of the newly formed Parks Board and a local champion of the City Beautiful movement.

Inspired by the White City of the 1893 World Columbian Exposition in Chicago, the City Beautiful movement believed that harmonious urban planning could eliminate social disorder, crime and poverty. The elements of the plan built by Spokane at the close of the 1900s and beginning of the 1910s did not achieve those grandiose goals but they did leave it with an endowment of public spaces.

At play in Riverfront Park

Liberty Park in its first incarnation

This collection features Spokane parks spanning the whole of the 20th century. There are historic views of Manito Park and its gardens at different points during the century. Additionally, there is a selection of images of Natatorium Park and the original Liberty Park, both of which were demolished during the 1960s. Finally, a series of images chronicles Riverfront Park from its origins following Expo '74 to the turn of the 21st century. Photographs typically include both visitors and noteworthy park features.

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Photographs for this digital collection are drawn from the photo files of the Northwest Room.