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.