We are closing our series of articles about Manito Park and have been listing the various venues of the beautiful park according to the book “Manito Park: A Reflection Of Spokane’s Past” by Tony and Suzanne Bamonte of Tornado Creek Publications, Inc.
Today, we visit the last ones; numbers 11 and 12:
11. UPPER MANITO PLAYGROUND: Grading for the playground and softball field at the south end of the park in 1912 was in response to the 1907 Olmsted report’s observation that the park did not have an adequate play field. Tennis courts and a bowling green were also built in the area. A wading pool was added in 1920. Charles Balzer, the first park superintendent, built the first playground equipment in two different locations at Manito. After the park board was formed, playground development became a priority.
12. GREENHOUSE AND STAFF FACILITIES: Built in 1912, the basalt rock building directly north of the greenhouses serves as offices for the park horticultural staff and The Friends of Manito. The Friends of Manito was founded in 1990 by John Dodson, then-Horticultural Supervisor of Manito Park, in response to a park showing signs of deterioration. The Parks Department budget was insufficient to maintain and improved the park. Over the years, this nonprofit group has acted as a partner with the Parks Department, contributing substantial funding towards improvements, preservation and park promotion, as well as educational gardening activities and programs (The Olmsted Series). Their fall plant sale contributes over $20,000 a year. In 1998 The Friends of Manito received the “Organizational Citation of Merit Award” – an award given annually by the Washington Recreation and Park Association, Inc. – recognizing these contributions.