Manito Park in Spokane Washington's South Hill neighborhood is a picturesque central park full of walking trails, large trees, beautiful gardens and more.
For more informaion about Manito Park, visit www.manitopark.org.
Lastweek, we learned of the rise of a prominent architect in Spokane named
Kirtland Cutter and his rise in fame.We
also learned about his marriage to a Spokane-area rich man’s daughter, their
continued success, subsequent divorce and devastating results that fell on
This week we will continue to read
more about this interesting character and how he fared in early Spokane.
Cutter’s most prosperous years began
around 1897 and lasted into the early 1900s.During those years he was the architect of choice for many of the
wealthy Spokane families.He designed
the majority of the mansions directly below the rim of the Manito plateau (“The
Hill”), which were some of his first major commissions.
Cutter experienced some difficult
times after his divorce from Mary Corbin.Because of his high profile, on September 4, 1907, the Spokesman Review gave a detailed account
of an embarrassing incident that took place shortly after he married his second
wife, Katherine Phillips Williams.
KICKS ARCHITECT OFF STREET CAR
Jack Williams Applies Boot to Kirtland K. Cutter.
Kirtland K. Cutter, society man and architect, whose reputation is
national, was kicked from a Manito park car last Thursday evening by “Jack”
Williams, society man and former secretary of the Sullivan Mining Company, who
now has offices with former Judge George Turner in the Fernwell building.Mr. Cutter received the kick as he was
descending the steps of the car at Sixth avenue and Washington street, but he
landed on his feet when he struck the ground, and after picking up his hat,
which fell in the mud, due to his hurried flight, he hastened on his way home
without glancing back or making any remarks to his assailant.
On account of the social prominence of the two men the occurrence has
caused much talk among the members of the Spokane club and Country club.
Mr. Cutter is married to Mr. Williams’ divorced wife, the wedding
taking place soon after the divorce was granted [10 days] … According to the
chronicle of those who saw the melee, it occurred on a Manito park-bound car at
5:40 o’clock last Thursday afternoon.The car was crowded with home-going residents of the hillside and Manito
park neighborhoods.Because of the crowded
condition of the car and the fact that Mr. Cutter kept going after the kick had
been administered most of those on the car were not aware of what had
happened.“The first that I knew that
trouble had broken out between the erstwhile friends, Cutter and Williams, was
when I heard Mr. Williams say ‘You _ _ _ _, get off the car,’ said a wealthy
resident of the hill, who was just in the rear of Mr. Williams.
“Then”, said the spectator, “Mr. Cutter’s hat shot into the air.He followed the hat from the car, never said
a word, and ignored the little mishap…. The affair occurred at Sixth avenue and
Washington street.It was raining cats
and dogs.Cutter thumped his umbrella
into position first and then gathered his hat from the mud.He went up Sixth avenue in the direction of
“The affair occurred so quickly that I did not comprehend at the time
that a kick had been delivered.Mr.
Williams was standing in a crowd on the rear platform of the car and Mr. Cutter
had been inside the car”….Another friend of Mr. Williams said: “…Jack told me
he had been waiting for a chance to plug Cutter for some time, and this was the
first opportunity he had to deliver the chastisement.”
Cutter continued to practice architecture in
Spokane until 1923.Although at time his
practice extended to other states, most of his work was accomplished in
Spokane.When the big money poured into
the city in the late 1800s and the wealthy built their elegant mansions, Cutter
was able to command substantial prices for his services.As the demand for these mansions slowed,
Cutter found himself in an extremely competitive position.The bottom was falling out of his upscale
market and the competition was meeting the demand for more affordable house
plans.By the time Cutter left Spokane
in 1923, his practice had declined.He
went in search of a market compatible with his talents, which he found in Long
Beach, California.Kirtland Kelsey
Cutter practiced architecture until his death on September 26, 1939, in Long
Beach, California, at the age of 79.Cutter has one remaining blood relative, his grandson, Joe Corbin, whose
birth name was also Corbin Corbin.Joe
Corbin was born July 26, 1926, and presently resides in Los Angeles.
Last week, we learned about several
prominent architects who designed many of the buildings in the business
district, as well as many of the upscale homes in the areas around town.Today, we learn about an event that just
about ruined Spokane’s downtown district in 1889.
Spokane experienced a devastating
fire on August 4, 1889.The fire
decimated most of the downtown business district, consuming 25 square blocks and
destroying 60 brick and stone buildings.The fire created an opportunity for Cutter’s architecture practice to
flourish (along with everyone else’s involved in the reconstruction of
A previous fire, which occurred in 1883, also
affected the future of Spokane’s architecture.It signaled a need for brick construction.In his book Spokane and the Inland Empire,
Nelson Durham states:
The first considerable
fire which left its mark in Spokane startled the city on the night of January
19, 1883.The conflagration broke out on
the coldest night of the winter, in the store of F.R. Moore & Co., and as
there was no fire department, the space between Front street and the alley
south, comprising F.R. Moore & Co.’s store, Charlie Carson’s restaurant, Forrest’s
grocery, Porter’s drugstore and the postoffice [sic], was completely leveled,
and Rima’s jewelry store across the alley was torn down to arrest the
flames.It was a heavy loss and could
ill afford to be borne, but the losers had resolved almost before the ashes had
cooled down, to rebuild with brick.The
year 1883 was thus signalized by a new impetus in building.
Fortunately, only one life was lost in the Great Fire of
1889 – a civil engineer by the name of George Davis.In terms of lives lost to fires in Spokane,
two others hold that record.In 1892,
four men were killed during a fire on Havermale Island.Six businesses and four houses were also
destroyed.The worst fire on record, for
lives lost, occurred January 26, 1898, when the Great Eastern Block burned,
killing nine people.The five story
brick building, located at the southeast corner of Riverside and Post, was one
of the first business blocks in Spokane.Following the fire, it was rebuilt as the Peyton Building.Slight traces of fire damage can still be
seen on portions of the building.
When Cutter began his business as an architect, he formed a
partnership with John Poetz, who had been educated in structural design and
construction management.Poetz left the
firm in 1894 and was replaced by Karl Gunnar Malmgren, who had trained as an
architect in his native Sweden.The
Cutter-Malmgren partnership lasted for almost 30 years.To a great extent, Cutter produced the ideas
and Malmgren engineered the plans.Although the firm often employed other draftsmen, Malmgren was its key
Cutter’s marriage to the daughter of one of Spokane’s
richest and most influential business tycoons appears to have boosted his
career.On October 5, 1892, Kirtland
Cutter wed Mary Edwine Corbin, daughter of Daniel C. Corbin.Following a trip to France in 1898, the
marriage ended in divorce.In the
divorce decree Kirtland alleged his wife refused to return to the United States
with him; Mary alleged she was sick and unable to travel, and that he left her
in France with no means of support.During the marriage they had a child, Kirtland Corbin Cutter.A strained relationship between D.C. Corbin
and Kirtland Cutter resulted from the divorce.Corbin was instrumental in keeping Cutter’s son from him, and insisted
his grandson’s name be changed from Kirtland Corbin Cutter to Corbin Corbin.In one of the provisions of Cutter’s will, he
states, “I make no provision in this my last Will and Testament for my son,
Corbin Corbin, for the reason that his Grandfather, the late D.C. Corbin of
Spokane, Washington, in his Will made suitable provision for him on the
stipulated condition that his surname be changed to ‘Corbin’.”
Next week we will hear more
about this interesting character Kirtland Cutter.
The upscale areas of early Spokane,
especially during the “Age of Elegance”, were designed with a strong European
influence.Both of Spokane’s earliest
and most prominent architects came from Germany.Herman Preusse was born in Germany in
1847.When he was three years old, his
father died and his mother married one of Germany’s leading architects.Under his influence, Preusse received one of
the finest architectural educations in Germany.Combined with the practical experience received in his stepfather’s
office, he gained early recognition as one of Germany’s upcoming young
Realizing the opportunities in
America, a young and booming nation, Preusse moved to New York in 1870.Following a number of successful career moves
in the United States, he settled in Spokane Falls in 1882.Preusse hired Julius Zittel upon Zittel’s arrival
in 1887.Zittel was only 18 years of
age, but within six years, his ability led to a partnership with Preusse.The partnership lasted for 18 years.They designed and supervised some of
Spokane’s finest buildings, including Gonzaga College, St. Aloysius Catholic
Church, Carnegie Library, and the Auditorium Theatre.[The Auditorium
Theatre, located at the northwest corner of Post and Main, boasted the largest
stage in the world upon completion in 1890.The list of attendees at the opening production read like a “Who’s Who”
in Spokane.]Herman Preusse was
Spokane’s first professional architect, and only one of four architects listed
in the 1888 Spokane Falls directory.By
1906 there were over 40 architects listed.Some of the most prominent were to design houses for the
newly-developing Manito area.
Kirtland K. Cutter, Spokane’s famous
architect, was born in Cleveland, Ohio, in 1860.His father, a banker with the Merchant’s
National Bank of Cleveland, provided young Cutter with a comfortable lifestyle.However, he was greatly influenced by his
great grandfather, Professor Jared Kirtland, while living at Kirtland’s country
estate.A well-connected and respected
naturalist, Kirtland socialized with many of the nation’s notable people.This period of Cutter’s life appears to have
given him a high degree of sophistication and confidence.Cutter studied painting and sculpture at the
Art Students League in New York.
He then spent several years
traveling and studying in Europe.Upon
his return to the United States, his uncle, Horace Cutter, a banker in Spokane
Falls, convinced the younger Cutter to join him there.It does not appear that Cutter’s training
included any formal education in the field of architecture, but he had an
ability to visualize beautiful designs and transfer them to paper.He was a talented illustrator and, through
his travels, had been exposed to a wide variety of architectural designs, which
he amalgamated into his own unique style.His enthusiasm, charming sophistication, and connections to wealthy and
influential individuals (associations made primarily through his Uncle Horace)
would become contributing factors to his eventual international fame.
we will learn of the big Spokane Fire of 1889.Click back and we’ll learn even some more about this great town of ours
as well as our beloved Manito Park itself.
We have been exploring stories about the founding of Spokane
as a city as well as the building and populating of the Manito Park neighborhood.Last week we looked at Fred Grinnell, a real
estate broker in Spokane and the ads he had been placing in the newspaper
telling of the wonderful opportunities to build houses surrounding Manito Park.This week, we will see more of those ads and
learn a little more about the neighborhood.
All of the information reported here
comes from a book by Tony Bamonte and Suzanne Schaeffer Bamonte entitled, “Manito Park:A Reflection of Spokane’s Past”.You can learn more about this book at www.tornadocreekpublications.com.
More articles or
advertisements appeared in the Spokesman-Review
of July 14, 1907:
THE REASON WHY
this extract from an article in the Spokesman-Reviewof July 14, 1907:
“It is the natural tendency of residence
districts to seek the highest points overlooking the city.There is also a rugged picturesqueness
embodied in the boulders and pine trees in much of the South Hill property that
appeals to the homebuilder.Then there
is an unevenness in the lay of the ground which gives variety and puts most of
the lots above street grades, which is an attractive feature.These are some of the “characteristics” of
South Side additions on the hill which probably cause the property to command
higher prices than in most North Side Additions.”
MANITO HAS NO COMPETITORS
Manito stands in a class by itself as a high
class residence district!
There are many reasons
FIRST – Manito is naturally the choice
residence section, being built on the South Side, above the city and the
railroads and commanding a magnificent view.These are qualities which make the finest residence districts in all
SECOND – The building restrictions have been
enforced and none but nice residences have been erected.
THIRD – The owners of Manito Addition have
spared no expense in the matter of improvements and today Manito is ahead of
many districts not as far out, having good streets, cement sidewalks and city
FOURTH – Purchasers of Manito lots have been
treated right.No unfair advantages have
been taken and they have been given more for their money than buyers in any
other part of the city.
Manito has grown faster than any section of
the city and more money has been spent there than in any other one
section.All of the houses at Manito are
new.Wouldn’t you rather build in such a
section than where the development has reached its height?
HISTORY REPEATS ITSELF
Spokane Is No Exception To The Rule
The history of all cities in this and other countries
is that the finest residence districts ultimately seek the higher levels.In Spokane the highest level is MANITO.
It is the natural outcome of the development of any city of any size
for the best residence district to be up on the hill sections.The railroads, the business houses and
manufactories must of necessity be located on the lower levels and as time goes
on and a city develops the “one-time” best residences give place to business
houses.Every resident of Spokane has
implicit faith in the development of the city and believes that within a few
years it will be one of the important cities of the country.When that belief has been fulfilled where
will the choice residence section be?Being elevated 350 feet above Howard and Riverside Manito benefits by
the prevailing, warm southwesterly winds and is entirely free from the winter
fogs and dampness experienced at intervals in the lower districts of the
The economy was healthy in 1907, but most importantly, Manito Park was
ready to receive its neighborhood. To describe the building atmosphere around
Manito Park, the following is a sampling of Grinnell's 1907 advertising
campaign taken from various issues of the Spokesman
No section of the city,
aside from the business section, is contributing so much toward the development
of a Greater Spokane as the Manito residence section. This statement is not
based on our opinions nor on the opinion of any person, but it is based on facts
and figures which cannot be disputed. Figures sometimes lie, or at least can be
made to deceive, but facts prove the statement.
Some Facts about Manito
10 miles of cement sidewalks.
62 houses now under construction.
1600 shade trees planted along the streets.
$35,000 spent in the public park
12 miles of graded street.
207 houses completed in 3 years.
7 miles of water mains laid.
Several miles of gas mains laid.
The Way Is Made Easy
You will never have a better
opportunity to secure a home site than today. We
Let you name
your own terms, and Manito property is selling at the present
time below its actual value.
Only a small cash payment required and you can tell us how you want to pay the
No Other District but Manito Is Free from the Railroad Danger
We Now Have an Automobile in Which to Show
residence section is known as one of the most desirable residence sections in
THE “MANITO KIND”
Of Home Site Is Not Found Elsewhere
In no other part of the
city are there such beautiful surroundings as at Manito. The principalpark of the city, consisting of 95 acres; the
Country Club, whichhas beautiful
grounds and buildings; Manito boulevard,which is to be the show street of the city; the campus and buildings of
the new Spokane College [on 29th Avenue near Grand Boulevard] and the new
Rosedale boulevard , which is soon to be constructed, all surround Manito.
In addition to the
beautiful surroundings, the building restrictions assure the Manito residence
section will always be beautiful. Then, too, no railroads can ever reach
Manito. It is way above them. Manito is favored with everything that
could be desired for a residence section.
At Manito Park Tonight
will find a free moving picture exhibition. Every night, Sunday excepted, there
is a free moving picture exhibition in the park. There is also a free lecture,
illustrated by the stereopticon, which is not only entertaining but highly
Manito is the
Coolest Spot in Town
Come out this evening
and enjoy the free moving picture exhibition between 8 and 9 o'clock.It is delightfully cool and you
will have an enjoyable time.
Every day now is a picnic day at Manito.
Take a trip to Manito any evening about 6 o'clock and in the park you will find
from 50 to 100 or more families eating their suppers in the coo l, open air;
the coolest spot in Spokane; from 10to 15 degrees cooler than it is
in the downtown districts. If your home is in the Manito district you do not
need to go to the mountains for the summer.You have the mountain air at your home.
For Soil for Their Flowers The Ladies Go To Manito
Some of the richest
and blackest soil in the city is to be found at Manito. It is the kind of soil
that makes it easy for you to have a beautiful yard; combined with the soil are
the artistic boulders and fine pines, all of which are making the South Side
Hill section the most beautiful residence section.
Inferior or Superior Quality
Which Do You Want in Your Home Site Providing It Is Just as Easy to Secure One
as the Other?
We believe that you
want a home site which has superior qualities; one that is located in a part of
the city which will never have any but fine residences; a home site that will
grow in value as the city develops; a home site that contains the artistic
features that will make it desirable; a home site located in that section of
the city which contain s more public improvements than any other part-- in
short--the kind of home site you find
Not a commonplace
section , but a section where the homes of all are up to the high standard for
whichbetter residence sectionsofSpokanehavebecomenoted .A section where
improvements precede the erection of the homes.
Next week, we will explore more of the newspaper
advertising Mr. Grinnell used to attract future home owners to his new Manito