Tuesday, December 30, 2014

Spokane Grows at a Rapid Pace

Today we continue the story of the burgeoning growth of Spokane, especially on the prestigious new “South Hill” area.  Our story continues, according to the book, “Manito Park:  A Reflection of Spokane’s Past”, by Tony Bamonte and Suzanne Schaeffer Bamonte of www.tornadocreekpublications.com.

The key to selling real estate in the early 1900s was the availability of street railway service to the development, graded roads and water.  When Graves purchased Cook’s Spokane & Montrose streetcar line in 1902, he immediately began to enlarge and improve it.  He then organized the Spokane-Washington Improvement Company to “plat additions, install water systems, grade streets, establish and maintain parks, and all other necessary functions vital to property development.”  Graves sold 50 acres south of 33rd Avenue to the Spokane Country Club for a clubhouse and nine-hole golf course.  This was a well-executed scheme to attract future buyers to lots around that site.  Other developers also began selling lots on the South Hill, and it was soon revealed that a large tract of land would be donated for a park.

Francis Cook’s original development project was destined for success – without him.  There are conflicts amongst historians regarding the precise point of Manito Park’s inception.  A number of recorded events suggest a “park of sorts” as early as 1886, when the first fair in Spokane County was sponsored by Francis Cook and held somewhere on his “farm on the hill” (most likely in the vicinity of Mirror Lake).  The Polk Directory lists “Montrose Park, 2 ½ miles S. of city on Cook’s Electric Line” for the years of 1896-1898.  In the 1899 Polk Directory, only the Montrose Park Addition appears, and from 1900 to 1902 both Montrose Park and the Montrose Park Addition are listed.  A Spokesman Falls Review article appearing in April 1888 highlighted Montrose Park as the destination for local picnics and family excursions.  Another recorded event corroborating the early Montrose Park was an article appearing in the June 28, 1902 Spokesman Review:  “The old pavilion at Montrose Park was burned yesterday morning.  The building was not worth very much.  Charles Reeder, agent for the Provident Trust Company, which owned it, expresses the belief that the fire was of an incendiary origin.”    If this pavilion was considered “old” in 1902, it apparently was built during Cook’s ownership and development of the area, probably at the time of the fair in 1886.
Watch next week at www.ManitoPark.org or at www.manitoparkorg.blogspot.com for the next chapter in this continuing series recounting the interesting events that eventually led up to the establishment of our beloved Manito Park.

Tuesday, December 23, 2014

Where is "Top Notch Hill" in Spokane?

According to the book, “Manito Park: A Reflection of Spokane’s Past”, by Tony Bamonte and Suzanne Schaeffer Bamonte of www.tornadocreekpublications.com, we now hear more about the continuing building boom on the South Hill portion of the city and the development of the Manito neighborhood in specific.

Around the turn of the century, the stage was being set for Spokane’s showcase neighborhood.  Tremendous wealth from the nearby mining districts was creating one of the strongest economies Spokane has ever seen.  Real estate was booming and new housing developments were beginning to envelop the core of Spokane.  During  1903 alone, a total of 1500 new structures were built in Spokane.  Most of the city lay to the west of Washington Street, with substantial construction north of the river.  A scattering of new houses appeared around the perimeter of the city.

Spokane’s South Hill was about to emerge with a mighty and lasting force.  A real estate article in the June 24, 1903 Spokesman Review stated:

‘Top Notch Hill’ in the southern part of the town, is quite stable – very few changes in the buildings, because people building homes there generally know what they want and can afford to pay for it; whereas the less fortunate ones often keep on enlarging on an originally small house.

This article was defining a developing exclusive area, previously referred to as “The Hill”.  It also marked the beginning of a name and class reputation the South Hill would retain.  John Fahey describes many of this neighborhood’s residents in his book Shaping Spokane – Jay P. Graves and His Times:

                                In many ways the Spokane of 1900 mirrored the ostentation of Industrial America.  As the town flourished, merchants, mining and lumber magnates, bankers, lawyers, doctors and others – even a handful of manufacturers – not only could afford expensive housing, but demanded striking homes to testify to their preeminence in society and business.

                                “The Hill” was becoming a place of curiosity and awe.  People enjoyed viewing the beautiful homes as they passed through this area on the way to Montrose Park (as Manito Park was still called at the time) and the new building lots on the plateau.  For an up and coming family in the early 1900s, Manito was definitely the neighborhood to invest in property for a home.   It had all the elements for success, situated directly above one of Spokane’s already established elite neighborhoods immediately south of downtown (the area of the D.C and Austin Corbin, F. Lewis Clark, Kirtland Cutler, F. Rockwood More/Senator George Turner homes).


Next time, we’ll learn more about this booming neighborhood, some of its inhabitants and the continued development of the area.

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Railroad Accident Nearly Ruins Financiers of Spokane’s Growth…

According to the book, “Manito Park: A Reflection of Spokane’s Past”, by Tony Bamonte and Suzanne Schaeffer Bamonte of www.tornadocreekpublications.com:

The most tragic railroad accident in the Inland Northwest was the head-on collision of two Spokane & Inland Empire trains about a mile west of Coeur d’ Alene on July 31, 1909.  Seventeen passengers were killed and more than two hundred injured.  This accident, and the resulting damage claims, plunged an already financially-compromised company into near financial ruin.  Soon after, the streetcar lines began to feel a sting of competition from the automobile.  In addition, the population count reached a sudden plateau, quelling the need for further rail line expansion.

By 1912 Graves divested himself of controlling interests and responsibilities in both the Spokane & Inland railway and the Granby mines.  His investments in these operations proved profitable, but many other investors, who delayed liquidating, were not so fortunate.  With his proceeds, Graves built a beautiful estate at his farm, purchased years earlier, on a bluff overlooking the Little Spokane River.  The estate he named “Waikiki” was designed by architect Kirtland Cutter and landscaped by the Olmstead Brothers firm.  (It is now Gonzaga University’s Bozarth Conference and Retreat Center.)  He also began investing in property north of Spokane, accumulating some 3000 acres, most of which he intended to develop and sell.

The residential acreage market was beginning to soften at this time, and Graves needed an incentive to entice buyers.  That incentive came in the form of donating land to the floundering Whitworth College, which was looking to relocate from Tacoma to a more strategic site.  Graves offered a proposal that gave Whitworth a vested interest in promoting the sales of lots around the donated land.  The college accepted, and a ground-breaking ceremony took place on May 22, 1914.  Graves continued to take an active role in the ongoing development of the college, and upon his death on April 27, 1948 at the age of 88, his ashes were scattered at a favorite spot on the Whitworth campus.

Graves experienced financial difficulties in his later years.  His real estate investments went flat and further speculation in the mining business was unproductive.  He had to sell Waikiki in 1937 at a deflated value.  Nevertheless, this shrewd, industrious businessman was remembered for his successes, and seen as a visionary who left for future generations such legacies as Manito Park and Whitworth College.

Next time, we will learn more about the expansion of the South Hill portion of Spokane and the newest  building boom in the area.

Tuesday, December 9, 2014

Spokane expands at a rapid pace…

According to the book, “Manito Park: A Reflection of Spokane’s Past”, by Tony Bamonte and Suzanne Schaeffer Bamonte of www.tornadocreekpublications.com:

Jay P. Graves’s early years in Spokane clearly influenced the transition between horses and motor vehicles.  The street railway enabled and encouraged the rapid building and expansion of Spokane.  The extension of his line through the South Hill fed the development of the Manito Park area.  Although Graves’s most financially significant accomplishment was the development of the Granby Mining, Smelting and Power Company in British Columbia (the largest copper producing mine in Canada at the time), his most important accomplishment in the Inland Northwest was the development of the electric railway system.

The caption in a July 9, 1907 newspaper article read:  “SPOKANE TO HOLD A WORLD’S REECORD:  longest Electric System on Earth Owned by One Company”.  Graves was quoted as saying, “Spokane has more miles of electric railroads than any other city in the Pacific coast states.”  The article continued, “This statement looks big, but it is substantiated by figures…Los Angeles comes second with a number of miles less than Spokane.”   In the final stage of development, Graves’s Inland Northwest railway empire consisted of some 250 miles.  In 1906, with the rapid expansion of the electric lines, the need to develop a private source of power (heretofore supplied by Washington Water Power) began to materialize.  Construction was started on the Nine Mile power plant on the Spokane River (now owned by W.W.P.).  Graves’s various rail lines and interests were finally organized into one large company – the Spokane & Inland Empire Railroad Company.  In October of 1909, he sold this line to the Great Northern Pacific railways.
During Grave’s development of his electric railroad, the Inland Northwest’s first serial murder was uncovered.  In December 1903, while grading for a sidetrack on the new Spokane and Coeur d’Alene electric line – a line Graves absorbed in 1904 – a construction crew unearthed a total of 11 skeletons near Coeur d’Alene.  Most of the remains were found in shallow graves on or near the grounds of former Fatty Carroll’s Resort.  Because “serial murder” was an unrecognized occurrence at the time and investigation techniques quite unrefined, the skulls and bones were exhibited in the various saloons and business houses around Coeur d’Alene.  This technique apparently was ineffective – it remains an unsolved mystery today.

Tuesday, December 2, 2014

By 1903, Automobiles Gain Popularity in Spokane:

According to the book, “Manito Park: A Reflection of Spokane’s Past”, by Tony Bamonte and Suzanne Schaeffer Bamonte of www.tornadocreekpublications.com:

Because of the frequency of horrible accidents and even deaths due to runaways and other horse-related incidents, Spokane had “Ordinance Relating to Horses.”  One of the first recorded accidents occurred on November 15, 1881, when the Western Hotel Express wagon, with eight people aboard, failed to negotiate the corner as it came onto Riverside Avenue at Blalock’s corner.  William Cannon, father of Anthony Cannon, was one of the passengers injured.  The 1892 municipal code cited, among other infractions, that riding a horse faster than six m.p.h. in the city or on a sidewalk was a misdemeanor punishable by stiff fines.

During the late 1800’s, Spokane had a no-nonsense approach to crime.  The city fed its jailed inmates bread and water, had a city rock pile where the prisoners worked, and carried out the only three official hangings in the history of Spokane County.  All three men were sentenced for murder within a year of his crime.

On July 26, 1903, an article appeared in the Spokesman-Review summarizing the status of automobiles:


No other town in the northeast can boast of as many automobiles as Spokane.  The broad level avenues of the city, together with the good condition of paving generally, level avenues of the city, afford an ideal place for the pleasures of automobiling.  Two styles of machines are noticeable.  They are what are termed the “runabout” and the “touring car”.  The runabout is the smaller vehicle, generally having but one seat and adapted to two persons.  The touring car is readily distinguished by its greater size and weight, and many have two, three or even four seats, and is suited for the accommodation of half a dozen or more passengers.  The latter machine is also more expensive, averaging from $1500 to $3000.  The runabout can be purchased for from $700 to $1200.  Of the three agencies used as motive power-electricity, steam and gasoline – the latter seems to be the most in favor.  It is asserted the gasoline engine requires less attention and is the most serviceable…


Tuesday, November 25, 2014

The Automobile Age Comes to Spokane!

According to the book, “Manito Park: A Reflection of Spokane’s Past”, by Tony Bamonte and Suzanne Schaeffer Bamonte of www.tornadocreekpublications.com:

Between 1898 and 1899, Spokane residents saw their first automobiles.  According to the February 11. 1926 issue of The Spokane Woman magazine, the earliest photograph of an auto appearing in Spokane was dated 1898.  The open car belonged to F. O. Berg.  [Berg was hired by a Portland man in 1898 to travel to New York and buy a car for him.  Berg chose a Locomobile Steamer, but when he returned with the car, the businessman was not able to figure out how it worked, so he sold it to Berg.]  In 1899 the Spokane Daily Chronicle reported the arrival of two gas-powered vehicles.  The Tull & Gibbs Company bought a large delivery truck.  Roy Boulter, owner of the other vehicle, apparently did not have much luck with his – the few times it was seen, it was being towed by a horse.  He soon replaced the gas engine with a steam motor, and later converted it into a steam saw

Berg’s recollection of his arrival in Spokane with his new car was quoted in the magazine, as follows:  “I started from the old O.W.R. & N.  [Oregon-Washington Railway & Navigation] depot on Cataldo Street, and before I got uptown I had succeeded in starting five runaways.  They didn’t have any arrest laws in those days, but I got plenty of abuse.”  On May 26, 1902, the absence of automobile traffic laws became an immediate problem.  Chief of Police William W. Witherspoon issued a citation to one of Spokane’s leading citizens for speeding down Riverside Avenue.  The Chief was on the streetcar at the time and caught up to the offender as he reached his destination.  Estimating the driver to be going at least 12 to 15 miles per hour, the Chief issued him a citation. [There was a 6 Miles Per Hour speed limit for horses in Spokane Municipal Code of 1892, but no speed limit for cars.]   However, the charge was later dropped because there was no law to support it.  Chief Witherspoon was on hand at the next city corporate council meeting to initiate Spokane’s first automobile traffic code.

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

The story of The Founding of Manito Park Continues…

According to the book, “Manito Park: A Reflection of Spokane’s Past”, by Tony Bamonte and Suzanne Schaeffer Bamonte of www.tornadocreekpublications.com:

In 1907, during a meeting with the Chamber of Commerce, Corporate Counsel James M. Geraghty made a statement summing up the spirit of donating land for parks.  This statement appeared in the January 10th issue of the Spokane Daily Chronicle, “Let me tell you that no man has ever given the city a site for anything unless it lay near land that he owned and which he knew would be enhanced in value immensely by the expenditure of the city’s money on the donated land.  A.B. Campbell, who gave the site for the city library is, I believe, the one exception.”  This statement appears to sum up the origin of many parks, not only in Spokane, but throughout the nation.

Donating the land for Manito Park was clearly a successful financial move for all parties involved, and marked the beginning of the real estate boom in that area.  At the turn of the century, the most popular areas to live in Spokane were serviced by streetcars.  Many of the rail lines were built by real estate developers to promote the sale of their property.  In 1903, the year after purchasing Cook’s old line, Graves reorganized it as the Spokane Traction Company.  Between the Traction Company and his real estate ventures, Graves would turn Cook’s former holdings into an enterprise worth millions.  Because of its rail access and the city’s promise of new streets, Manito Park was at the hub of this rapidly growing neighborhood.

Rapid expansion of the streetcar lines continued as the city grew and competition was fierce; Washington Water Power began absorbing some of the smaller lines, but Graves’s line held its ground.  However, another competitor seen entered the scene and gradually began taking its toll on all the streetcar operations.

Hear about that streetcar threat next week.  Stay tuned….

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

More on The Founding of Manito Park – The Next Chapter….

According to the book, “Manito Park: A Reflection of Spokane’s Past”, by Tony Bamonte and Suzanne Schaeffer Bamonte of www.tornadocreekpublications.com:

By 1903 most of Cook’s properties on Cook’s Hill had been acquired by a number of land speculators.  Several of them, including Jay and his brother Will Graves, formed the Spokane-Washington Improvement Company to develop and promote their new Manito Addition, bounded by 14th Avenue on the north, 33rd avenue on the south, Hatch to the east, and Division to the west.  Intent on providing reliable public transportation to the Manito area, Graves had acquired the Spokane & Montrose street railway late in 1902.  He immediately began converting it from narrow to standard gauge track and improving the cars.

His next step was to organize the owners of the adjacent properties to offer a large tract of acreage to the city for a park.  Along with the Spokane-Washington Improvement Company and Spokane & Montrose Motor Railroad Co., the Washington Water Power Company, Northwestern and Pacific Hypotheekbank, and Frank Hogan collectively contributed nearly 95 acres to the city.  In exchange for this park acreage, the city agreed to pay the costs to improve the area, specifically to build a road system around the new park and bring in the main waterline.   Although legal title was not transferred until the following year, Montrose Park took on new ownership, a new name and a definite sense of direction.  A July 31, 1903 article in the Spokane Daily Chronicle announced the proposed boundaries for the park.

This article also proclaimed the new name for the park “…Manita [sic] Park, referring to its elevation, which affords a fine view of the city.”  The developers of the Manito Addition understood “Manito” to be an Indian word for “hilltop”, as indicated in a brochure they published to promote their Manito properties.  More specifically, it is an Algonquin (a North American tribe originally from the area of Quebec, Canada) word meaning “spirit” or “a supernatural force that pervades nature,” still a fitting description for the area.

The story will continue next week with more details about the founding of this marvelous park.  Please click over to www.ManitoPark.org again then.

Tuesday, November 4, 2014

The Founding of Manito Park – The Story Continues….

According to the book, “Manito Park: A Reflection of Spokane’s Past”, by Tony Bamonte and Suzanne Schaeffer Bamonte of www.tornadocreekpublications.com:

Grave’s ancestral line is traced to Captain Thomas Graves, who came to Jamestown, Virginia, (the first permanent English settlement in America) in 1608.  Captain Graves made passage on the William and Mary, the second ship to make this voyage.  The family tree reveals a long line of significant accomplishments on a national level.  Following graduation in 1880 from Carthage College in Carthage, Illinois, Jay Graves engaged in the hardware business in Plymouth, Illinois.  By 1887 Spokane Falls was gaining a reputation as a city of great opportunity.  This information, and the lure of the West, drew Graves to Spokane in late 1887.  His initial ventures in Spokane were in Real Estate investment.  Many of Graves’s early business dealings were somewhat complicated, being cloaked in various partnerships and names.  However, his entrepreneurial interests were broad, centering around mining, railroads and urban development.

Graves was particularly fortunate during the Panic.  By 1894 many of Spokane’s founders and early promoters had suffered financially.  Among them were Francis Cook, James Glover and Anthony Cannon.  John Fahey, in his book Shaping Spokane, states:

The panic did not destroy everyone, did not maul uniformly.  While hundreds lost fortunes and property, a man with money could select among unique bargains in real estate.  For example, John A. Finch, miner-turned-real-estate speculator, foreclosed Muzzy’s Addition; the Hypotheekbank took Cannon’s and Cook’s additions, and the Provident Trust, Cook’s street railway.  Sales of abandoned, foreclosed, and tax-delinquent property in and near Spokane would go on for years… thus, distress for many meant opportunity for a few.  While jobless men occupied the old city haymarket, intending to march with Coxey, by contrast 73 borrowers repaid the Hypotheekbank.  A newspaper estimated that there were 650 homeless persons in Spokane, sleeping in saloons or a tabernacle.  On the other hand, contractors built a flour mill and 400 new houses (average cost $1,000) in the city during 1894.  The state underwrote an insane asylum at nearby Medical Lake and a normal school at Cheney and Spokane County built a French Renaissance courthouse as relief projects.  But when the City of Spokane called on individual citizens and business to be sureties for a new waterworks, 155 pledged from $500 to $40,000.  Neither Graves nor Clough [Clough was one of Jay Graves’s partners in development], incidentally signed as surety.

By 1901 the depression was over and the economy was booming again.  For those, such as Graves, who had anticipated the future, now was the time to take action.  On November 21, 1901, the first hint of something greater for Cook’s Montrose Park appeared in the paper.  The Spokane Daily Chronicle published a headline that read, “WILL GIVE A FINE PARK … Companies Owing Large Tracts of Land on the Southern Hill to Present a Big Tract to the City of Spokane … CITY MAY SECURE EIGHTY ACRES.”
Tune in next week for the next chapter in the story of the birth of Manito Park.

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

From Montrose to Manito – The Jay P. Graves Era

According to the book, “Manito Park: A Reflection of Spokane’s Past”, by Tony Bamonte and Suzanne Schaeffer Bamonte of www.tornadocreekpublications.com:

When the 1893 depression swept the nation, it was devastating to those heavily indebted in real estate or new business investments.  However, it provided an excellent opportunity for others.  Those who had achieved some measure of financial security were in a position to take advantage of others’ misfortunes.  Jay P Graves was in this latter category.

Grave’s newly-acquired mining fortune would increase from Francis Cook’s failed enterprises.  Cook’s small and insolvent Spokane & Montrose Railroad Company, with its 30-year franchise, became the nucleus for Graves’ new Spokane Traction Company.  This franchise, which included a substantial amount of Cook’s former land holdings, provided Graves with a substantial foothold in the Spokane railway and real estate businesses.  His enterprising drive would significantly influence the future of public transportation in the Inland Northwest and be instrumental in materializing Cook’s vision of Manito Park.  Graves became one of the foremost leaders in the development of the Inland Northwest.  An excellent book about Graves, “Shaping Spokane- Jay P. Graves and His Times”, by John Fahey, is recommended to those interested in the early economic development of Spokane.

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Part 15 - Francis Cook dies at his home in Spokane

On June 29, 1920 at the age of 69, Francis Cook died at his home on Wabash Avenue.  The cause of his death was stomach cancer, from which he had suffered for the previous four years of his life.  His funeral was held at the First Presbyterian Church, where he had been a charter member and long-standing elder. 
He was laid to rest in the Rose section of Riverside Memorial Cemetery.  Silas Cook, his oldest son who worked alongside his father from an early age, described his father’s final trip to “his” mountain, “Shortly before my father’s passing, he desired again to visit the mountains to pray.  But he could not reach the summit."  "He wandered over to Skyline spring and I left him alone."


Join us next week as the story continues and new individuals get involved in the creation of Manito Park in memory of Francis Cook.

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Francis H. Cook, the Father of Manito Park–Part 14

Our story about Francis Cook continues here with chapter 14.  According to the book, “Manito Park: A Reflection of Spokane’s Past, Francis Cook’s last significant venture was the development of Mt. Spokane.  In 1909 he sold his farm on the Little Spokane to raise funds to pursue his cherished dream.  He devoted the remainder of his life to the development of Mt. Spokane as a public recreation area, which he envisioned would eventually come under municipal ownership.  Although it was never owned by the City of Spokane, it did become a state park.  An article in the July 18, 1915 SpokesmanReview describes Cook’s relationship to the mountain:

He Fell In Love With The Mountain and Now Wants All Spokane for Rivals

As the father of 10 [11] children, owner of a section or so of land on the Little Spokane not far north of town and in the 58th year of his age F.H. Cook took on a new sweetheart…Mount Spokane.  She was generally known as “Old Baldy” when first wooed by Cook, but he rechristened her Carlton, and later improved that to Spokane, with Governor Hay present to attend to the final baptism.  Not only did Mr. Cook take the entire mountain into his affections, but more particularly did he take the 160 acres of summit to himself, to have and to hold as a property as well as sentimental claim.  He was able to buy the mountain top as agricultural land… [A condition for acquiring some designations of government land at the time involved agricultural purposes.] and Mr. Cook will ask you to produce anywhere another peak 6000 feet high which bears a summit of similar distinction.  He has strawberries in bloom up there now.

Still, he didn’t fall in love with Mount Spokane…in an agricultural sense.  That was simply an incidental that gave him a place in the sun on its summit.  It helps along what…he proposes to do in adoration of the mountain, that others may feel something, at least, of what the might and majesty of the mountain has meant to him.  That others, he hopes they may be counted in the thousands, may share this, he has spent seven of the few remaining years of his life on the mountain whenever the seasons permitted, weaving a highway from base to summit.

…Mr. Cook passed two preliminary summers in surveying the road up the mountain. The result is a road open to automobiles up to within three miles of the summit at what the builder figures an average five percent grade.  He is now working on an extension to his mountain home at the 5000-foot elevation…Less than a mile climb remains, and Mr. Cook is certain that an automobile highway could be constructed to the top.

In this respect, the mountain is remarkable, Mr. Cook declares…It is clothed in luxuriant soil to the peak.  The bald spot visible from Spokane is heavy grass.  Had he put stock on it Mr. Cook believes he would have had a ready source of revenue.  This is certainly pasture enough for herds all summer.  The mountain lover doubtless would deem such use desecration.  He wants people there.  Nothing less than the best human appreciation is the mountain’s due.

That is why he is everlastingly grubbing away to build a road through the mountain’s thick forest.  Although alone now, he announces that he will build the roads as surveyed if it takes him 10 years…He thoroughly believes it offers the finest view, the most satisfactory reception and leaves the finest impression on any mountains of all the mountains in the world.

In 1913 the name of Cook’s beloved mountain was officially changed from Mt. Carlton to Mt. Spokane.  Among those present for the event at the summit of the mountain were Governor Marian E. Hay, Marguerite Motie – the first “Miss Spokane” – and Francis Cook.  (Of note, Hay was Washington State’s 8th governor and the only one to ever reside in Spokane.  He moved to Spokane in 1909, the year he took office, and lived at 930 East 20th.  He died November 1933, and was buried in the Riverside Memorial Park Mausoleum.)

Cook continued to work on his road to Mt. Spokane.  By this time, his residence was a modest home at 614 East Wabash, which he purchased in 1910.  Much of his time was spent at his cabin near the summit of Mt. Spokane.  Although the opening of Mt. Spokane was the major achievement of his later years, his earlier influence on the development of the Manito Park area was his greatest contribution to the city of Spokane.

Tuesday, October 7, 2014

Francis H. Cook, the Father of Manito Park – Part 13 – the story continues …

According to the book, “Manito Park: A Reflection of Spokane’s Pastour story continues with this accounting as part number 13:

We have been learning about Francis Cook, an early Spokane founder, entrepreneur and businessman.  We learned last time about his fall when the stock market collapsed in 1893, and now we catch up with him as he regains his momentum toward the building of beautiful Montrose Park, known later as Manito Park. 

On May 1, 1900, a front page article appeared in the Spokane Daily Chronicle describing Cook’s latest enterprise.  It read as follows:


Fed by the Cool Springs of the Little Spokane


For a New Summer Resort for the People of This City


 … Plans are being made for the construction of an artificial lake on the Little Spokane river, which will be three-quarters of a mile long and one-quarter of a mile wide.  On the banks of this will be a boat house and bathing houses, while in the lake itself will be hundreds of trout of all sizes.

F.H. Cook, who owns 600 acres of land on the Little Spokane river, a short distance above Dart’s mill, is the person who is laying these plans.  He will commence work on the lake at the latest next spring, and may start as early as the coming fall.  The plan is to build a large, high dam across the river at the lower end of his place, high enough to make the water spread out into a lake about a quarter of a mile wide. 

At present, Mr. Cook owns one of the finest trout hatcheries in the State of Washington and his seven-acre lake swarms with from 30,000 to 50,000 fish, ranging in length from four to fourteen inches.  Mr. Cook at present allows no fishing in his lake, but next year intends to throw it open to the public as a sportsman’s ground, renting at a certain rate per pound.  The chief work being done this spring is the digging of canals through which the fish can wander and capture more insects than they could in the main stream.  He is also building a new sawmill on his place, the machinery for which is expected to arrive any day this week.

Cook had purchased this land in 1889 from the United States Government on a five-year contract.  His purchase price for 639 acres was $2,196.14.  Today, the area encompassing Cook’s original development, including his man-made lake, is now the Wandermere Golf Course.

Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Francis H. Cook, the Father of Manito Park – Part 12 – the story continues …

According to the book, “Manito Park: A Reflection of Spokane’s Past”:

The last time we learned about the 1893 collapse of the stock market and how Cook suffered the loss of his Spokane & Montrose Streetcar Company.  He also lost the land offered as collateral on the $40,000 note in a sheriff’s sale in 1895 (Superior Court case #8425).  Most of Cook’s dreams for the future development of the Montrose/Manito neighborhood and park were swallowed up with the loss of the land.  However, records indicate Cook made every effort to retain possession of their elegant home by selling much of the property adjacent to the home.  Sadly, their efforts were futile.  In July of 1897, the house was lost to the Provident Trust Company in another sheriff’s sale.  The Montrose Park Addition’s thriving future was not to materialize until almost a decade later.  By this time, Cook was well into other endeavors.

Francis Cook was 42 years old when the Panic of 1893 hit.  During his lifetime, he was dogged in his efforts to achieve success.  Laura Cook later wrote of her husband, “The greater the task, the more it seemed to appeal to Mr. Cook.”  His accomplishments were a better measure of his successes than his financial struggles would reveal. Although bringing life to the future Manito Park and surrounding area is perhaps his most popular legacy, it would not be Cook’s only accomplishment.

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Francis H. Cook, the Father of Manito Park – Part 11 – the story continues …

According to the book, “Manito Park: A Reflection of Spokane’s Past”:

In 1892 Cook converted the little wood-burning trolley to electricity, which was purchased from Washington Water Power.  It continued to shuttle people to and from his Montrose Park building sites, but there was little profit for Cook.  He struggled to sell the building sites and meet his expenses.  There were only a few dirt roads and no water service.  Consequently, the new Montrose Park area remained mostly undeveloped.  Mirror Lake and the pavilion, built at the time of Spokane’s first fair in 1886, were the main attractions. With the expectation of a promising future, the Cooks borrowed $40,000 on a three-year promissory note from Northwestern and Pacific Hypotheebank on July 19, 1892.  As collateral for the note, the Cooks offered 460 acres of land, including the area on which most of Manito Park and Manito Boulevard lies today, extending from about 17th to 37th Avenue.  No doubt, this note helped finance further development, and the construction of Cook’s beautiful home, with its lofty view of the city and Mt. Spokane in the distance.  This nine-bedroom home was the first significant residence on the Manito Plateau.

Unfortunately, the Cooks could not foresee the economic panic that was to occur the following year, resulting in the worst depression since the 1870s.  On June 27, 1893, silver hit an all-time low of 77 cents per ounce.  With the resulting shutdown of many mines throughout the country and a collapse of the stock market, the nation entered into a four-year depression.  Many of Spokane’s tycoons lost their fortunes.

Next time we’ll hear what happened to Cook during this downturn of 1893 and beyond.  Stay tuned.

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Francis H. Cook, the Father of Manito Park – Part 10 – the story continues …

According to the book, “Manito Park: A Reflection of Spokane’s Past”:

Last time we read about the newly established motorized public transportation line Mr. Cook and his business partners established between downtown Spokane and the Montrose Addition (now Manito Park) in 1888.

A descriptive account of the early Spokane & Montrose line appeared in a Spokesman Review article dated May 10, 1936.  This article contains recollections typical of the early streetcar lines:

It was the hardest working line Spokane ever operated.  The engine was operated by an engineer and fireman and the two passenger coaches were in charge of a conductor.  Peter Mertz, former chief of police, was its first conductor.  In leaving the top of the hill, the tram went down nose first but on the return trip, the two coaches were backed up.  During the winter in some of the heavy snows, Mr. Mertz states that It took the crew all day to get the little train down and back in one trip.

The tram had no schedule and ran whenever it could negotiate its trips.  It had a loud whistle and its engine sent forth such a flood of sparks that anybody could spot its whereabouts on the line.  And many of its passenger carried souvenir holes in their clothing burned by the sparks.

A tale is told of a lady passenger who rode frequently on the train in the “rush” hours of the  morning.  If a passenger didn’t manage to get a seat inside and was obliged to stand on the platform, he or she spent her time fighting off the sparks.  This is what happened to the lady.  Disembarking at Riverside, she entered a department store and was making a purchase when she smelled smoke and suggested to the clerk that the store must be on fire.

He sniffed and smelled the smoke also and was about to put in a fire alarm when he saw the smoke was rising from the top of the lady’s hat.  It was one of the little tram’s sparks that had snuggled in the beflowered crown and after smoldering for a time, was sending up little fumes of curling smoke.

Mr. Mertz admitted the other day that lots of people were afraid to ride in the train because its cars ran off the track frequently…Riding the tram was Sunday’s amusement venture in Spokane and according to Mr. Mertz, he used to collect as much as $50 a Sunday.  The fare was 10 cents.  His salary was $1.00 a day – “And I was glad to get it.”  Mr. Mertz reminisced.  Old-timers recall that it was a dull day that the tram didn’t instigate a runaway.  The puffing, spouting engine with its rain of sparks was the last thing a horse wanted to see.

Next time we will learn about the conversion of the trolley line to early electricity and the pitfalls of that transition.

Tuesday, September 9, 2014

Francis H. Cook, the Father of Manito Park – Part 9 – the story continues …

According to the book, “Manito Park: A Reflection of Spokane’s Past”:

We previously read about the roles Mr. Cook and T.J. Dooley had in establishing the Montrose Addition which is now the Manito neighborhood.  Following the first Spokane county fair on Mr. Cook’s property, he and Mr. Dooley decided to apply for permission to get a public transportation line started in Spokane.

On December 20, 1887, the Spokane Falls City Council granted a franchise allowing the construction of the motor line.  The franchise was given to Cook, Dooley and two other men, Horatio Belt and E.A. Routhe, for a period of 30 years.  With a $25,000 loan made by the Provident Trust Company, construction began in the spring of 1888.  On November 6, 1888, the Spokane & Montrose Motor Railroad, powered by a wood-burning steam engine, began operations in Spokane’s first motor trolley.  (A horse-drawn trolley owned by H.C. Marshall and A.J. Ross, preceded Cook’s line.  This passenger trolley, pulled by two horses, made its first trip in April of 1888.  It operated on tracks from the intersection of Division Street and Riverside to the west side of Coeur d’Alene Park in Browne’s Addition.)

Cook’s Spokane & Montrose line initially consisted of a square-shaped engine and two passenger coaches.  The route began between Front and Riverside, traveled south on Washington Street to Sixth Avenue, where it turned east to a rock cut on Bernard Street between Seventh and Eighth.  From there it proceeded to a point where the Rockwood gateposts now stand.  It then continued west on Sumner to the site of the present St. John’s Cathedral, then south on Grand to Montrose (Manito) Park, where the original line ended at about 19th.

Next time we’ll explore an early Spokesman Review article about this new motorized passenger line in Spokane.

Tuesday, September 2, 2014

Francis H. Cook, the Father of Manito Park – Part 8 – the story continues …

According to the book, “Manito Park: A Reflection of Spokane’s Past:

In 1880 Spokane’s population only numbered about 350 people, but within 10 years it reached over 22,000.  Spokane was becoming a booming city, and transportation – limited to horses – would undergo a major change.  As can be expected, Francis Cook, founder of Manito Park once again emerged as a leader as Spokane evolved toward the motorized public transportation.  His next enterprise was to have a major impact on the development of the South Hill and Manito Park.

In 1887 Cook’s farm on the South Hill underwent a drastic transition, greatly influencing the development of the Manito Park area.  In July of 1887, a lawyer by the name of T.J. Dooley arrived from Minnesota, where he had been engaged in real estate development.  Shortly after his arrival, he became excited about the potential of the town, especially of Cook’s property and its proximity to the town.  Two of the biggest attractions to the plateau were its lofty location with an expensive view and, being outside the city limits, city taxes would not apply.

Dooley acted quickly and on the 19th of November 1887, he and Cook formed a land development partnership.  Under the terms of this agreement, Dooley agreed to procure a franchise and funding for construction of a motorized residential streetcar line from the main section of town to Cook’s property, which Cook would build and operate.  Dooley would also play Cook’s land into a subdivision of residential lots, creating the Montrose Park Addition.  It was to include streets, alleys, boulevards (namely Grand and Manito) and parks.  In exchange for Dooley’s efforts,  Cook agreed to give him sole control over the sale of these lots, with Dooley receiving up to 20% for each lot sold.  The contract was extended for a period of three years.

Learn more about this blossoming new partnership in the next segment!

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Francis H. Cook, the Father of Manito Park – Part 7 – the story continues …

According to the book, “Manito Park: A Reflection of Spokane’s Past”:

We have already read about how strong Francis Cook was in the newspaper business here in Spokane, but according to the book mentioned above, beginning on September 21, 1886, Francis Cook again made history with another Spokane “first”.  He organized and hosted Spokane’s first annual county fair.  This event, representing Spokane and adjoining counties throughout the Washington and Idaho Territories, was held on his farm at the Montrose Park site.  It ran for 5 days and included numerous displays of produce and crafts, along with many various contests of skill.  Cook built what was later described as a pavilion.  It is unlikely this pavilion was built at the time of the fair to house displays.  The predominant events were various types of horse racing, in which Cook explicitly outlawed the use of spurs or whips.  It was typical at events or gatherings such as this to test for the fastest horses and most skillful men.  Time has not changed that competitive spirit – only the means.

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Francis H. Cook, the Father of Manito Park – Part 6 – the story continues …

According to the book, “Manito Park: A Reflection of Spokane’s Past”:

Thus far, we have learned about Mr. Cook and what an interesting character he was in early Spokane.  As a prominent newspaperman, he has now begun buying up property which would eventually become our beloved Manito Park.

Now, two years later, Cook made one of the most significant real estate purchases in the history of Spokane’s South Hill.  On February 4, 1886, he purchased 160 acres from the Pend Oreille Land Division of the Northern Pacific Railroad Company.  This purchase encompassed the area surrounding and including the present Manito Park.   With this purchase was a “certificate of lake” which Cook later named Mirror Lake.  It included the present Manito duck pond and a channel extending to Grand Boulevard, like the handle of a mirror.   Much of the Manito plateau was rather barren, dotted by pine and cedar trees.  The future park site was an exception.  Wild roses grew in profusion.  There were numerous bubbling springs throughout the area, and a large grove of trees, mostly alder, between Grand and the lake.  From the highest point in present Manito Park, Mt. Spokane was visible to the north.  Cook called this area Montrose Park (officially changed to Manito in 1903).  His Manito plateau investments eventually grew to over 60 0acres, which he planned to develop and sell.  Though not officially designated, the Manito plateau became known as Cook’s Hill. 

Stay tuned and next time we’ll explore other investments and “firsts” that are attributed to Francis Cook.

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

Francis H. Cook, the Father of Manito Park – Part 5 – the story continues …

According to the book, “Manito Park: A Reflection of Spokane’s Past:

Up to this point, we heard about the newspaper feud between Cook’s paper, “Spokan Times” and his rival, “The Chronicle” including physical violence between the owners.

By 1882, both newspapers had changed hands and Cook began his next major endeavor – the purchase of the land on the Manito plateau.  In May of 1884, he purchased 40 acres from the United States Government General Land Office.  This sale was authorized by an 1820 Act of Congress allowing provisions for the sale of public lands.  The property became Cook’s First and Second Additions, and took in the area now occupied by the Cathedral of St. John the Evangelist.  By 1885 Cook had established a farm on his property on the hill south of town.  For the next few years this would be the main focus of his attention.  The 1885 Polk Directory lists him, as a farmer, living at “Spokane Heights”.  True to Cook’s style, he met this new enterprise headlong; everything was going to be first class.  Several articles appearing in the July 14, 1883 edition of the Spokane Falls Review gave a rare glimpse of Cook’s farming operation:

Francis H. Cook received this week direct from New York City, a colony of Italian bees, the first of the kind ever imported into this country.  The little fellows came through by express order, and already have commenced operations.  Mr. Cook rakes great pride in securing for his place the best of everything, and at some future day he will possess the model farm of the northeast.

…F. H. Cook, living only a short distance south of this city, has growing on his place nineteen varieties of potatoes, the seed of which was procured from the East, and they are all doing splendidly.

Next time we’ll learn about the most significant real estate purchases in the history of Spokane’s South Hill – all by Mr. Cook.

Tuesday, August 5, 2014

Francis H. Cook, the Father of Manito Park – Part 4 – the story continues …

According to the book, “Manito Park: A Reflection of Spokane’s Past”:

As we last left Francis Cook, he had caused a big uproar with other prominent men in early Spokane and they had opened a competing newspaper.  The two newspapers, of course, spent a lot of their resources to just fight with each other.

On the last day of March, 1882, this “newspaper war” erupted into violence.  Anthony Cannon and his son-in-law, B.H. Bennett, went to Cook’s office to confront Cook concerning an article he had written, which Cannon felt was uncomplimentary.  Both Cannon and Bennett were armed with pistols.  Their purpose was to influence Cook to print a retraction.  A confrontation followed that left both Cannon and Bennett severely beaten.  Cook remained unscathed, although the stove in his office received a bullet hole in its chimney.

Following the incident, Cannon and Bennett were ordered to appear before a grand jury on charges of attempt to commit murder.  From all accounts, there seemed to be sufficient probable cause to support the charge, including motive, witnesses and evidence.  The grand jury, whose foreman was James Glover, ruled that Cannon and Bennett did not intend to assault Cook and dismissed the charges.

Although many of his accomplishments were absent from early Spokane historical accounts, substantial evidence remains to support Cook’s good character.  As history plays itself out, the truth can usually be gleaned and analyzed correctly. 

The newspaper feud continued between Cook and James Glover’s editorials as they both flung arrows at each other.  A dispute erupted when Glover claimed to have given land to Cook to start his newspaper.  It was supposedly 60 feet wide and extended clear through from Riverside to Sprague on the East side of Howard Street.  Cook had to set the record straight by producing a copy of a deed from Glover proving that Cook had indeed paid $50 for the land and nothing had been given for free. 

In the next chapter, we’ll see how Cook came to own the land now known as Manito Park.

Francis H. Cook, the Father of Manito Park – Part 3 – the story continues …

According to the book, “Manito Park: A Reflection of Spokane’s Past”:

Cook’s early days in Spokane were somewhat controversial.  From 1878 to 1882, as owner and editor of “The Spokan Times” he appears to have been Spokane’s most ardent and vocal supporter, publicly striving to represent the best interest of the community.  Cook’s newspaper was the first one in Spokane to receive national telegraph wires from the Associated Press, and the county commissioners declared it Spokane County’s official newspaper.  However, Cook’s opinions often provoked some of the early Spokane community leaders.  During his final year with the Times, he expressed negative opinions to the character and actions of some of these leaders, arousing their outrage. 

Cook published an inflammatory article about what he called “The Ring” consisting of city leaders J. N. Glover, A.M. Cannon and J. J. Browne quoting that they “…are blight upon the place, standing between our city and the prosperity to which it is entitled.  They foster no experience but such as pays them tribute.” 

The article appears to have escalated the ongoing feud between Cook and “The ring”.  In response to earlier published statements in the “Spokan Times”, Glover, Cannon and Browne had started a second newspaper in Spokane Falls, The Chronicle”, on June 29, 1881.  A running feud was carried on between the two newspapers.

More on this story will continue later.  Keep tuned in, folks.

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Francis H. Cook, the Father of Manito Park – Part 2

According to the book, “Manito Park: A Reflection of Spokane’s Past”:

Francis Cook was born in 1851 in Marietta, Ohio where he learned the printing trade and purchased his first newspaper at the age of 16.  With only $15 in his pocket, he set out for the Pacific Northwest when he was 19 years old.  Upon his arrival, he was employed by the Olympia “Puget Sound Courier”.  He later bought the “Olympia Echo”, which he operated for three years before starting the first newspaper in Tacoma, the “Tacoma Herald”.

During his time in Western Washington, Cook became familiar with the beauty and potential of Eastern Washington.  In 1878 he moved to Spokane Falls and started the “Spokan Times” Spokane’s first newspaper.  The first issue was dated May 8, 1879.  When Cook arrived in Spokane, there were differing opinions about the spelling of Spokane.  Sometimes the final “e” was used, and sometimes it was not.  Cook chose the latter as being more phonetically accurate.  He believed people would give the “a” the long sound with the “e” placed at the end.  As cook predicted, Spokane is still often pronounced “Spokayne” by outsiders.

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Francis H. Cook, the Father of Manito Park– Part 1

According to the book, “Manito Park: A Reflection of Spokane’s Past”:

In his book “News for an Empire”, Ralph Dyar described the arrival of Francis Cook in the following way, “Seventy-four years after the discovery of the Inland Empire, its trading-center-to-be got a newspaper by the grace of God and a tramp printer…The itinerant printer was Francis H. Cook, a native of Ohio, who had set type on newspapers in many other states.”

This “Tramp Printer” would become one of Spokane’s most notable, but unsung historical figures.  He was a former elected member of the Territorial Legislative Council, and although the youngest member of both houses, he was chosen as the chairman.  According to published accounts of Cook, he was a colorful, hard working and honest man.  His enthusiasm and faith in early Spokane was the driving force behind his many worthy enterprises.  Although none brought him lasting monetary gain, he gave Spokane some of its most notable legacies. He was truly a visionary whose ideas and actions were ahead of their time.


A lot more about Francis Cook later.  Stay tuned and check in with ManitoPark.Org every week for the next chapter.

Tuesday, July 8, 2014

In 1903, Spokane reported to have 7 millionaires!

Early in Spokane’s history as a city, an area then called “The Hill” developed simultaneously with Browne’s Addition (named for the early Spokane settler, John J. Browne).  “The Hill” was on the south side of the city below the Manito plateau, roughly between Stevens and Monroe.  As the people and the wealth from the mines poured into Spokane, mansions began appearing in this area.  In 1896, F. Lewis Clark, owner of the C&C Flour Mill in downtown Spokane, built a mansion at 701 West Seventh Avenue, and the following year, Daniel C. Corbin and his son, Austin Corbin II, began construction of two colonial homes on Seventh Avenue.  Austin’s home at the end of Post Street, the more palatial of the two, cost $33,000.  Daniel Corbin’s home at the end of Stevens Street originally cost $17,000.  The cost figures all appeared in “The Chronicle” on January 6, 1899.  Other mansions followed as Spokane basked in its “Age of Elegance”, and by the year 1900, the city of Spokane was bursting with expansion.  Hundreds of city lots were surveyed, platted and awaited buyers.  In 1903, the Spokesman-Review boasted, “Spokane has 7 millionaires.”  A new upscale neighborhood was taking shape and expanding in a residential area around what is now Manito Park.
Bibliography:  “Manito Park: A Reflection of Spokane’s Past” by Tony and Suzanne Bamonte, 1998.