Duncan Gardens

Manito Park Tour - Story 13

John W. Duncan was the second park superintendent from 1910 to 1942. The garden is now named for him. It was his vision that created the gardens we see today.

Duncan came to Spokane from the Boston Park system and according to Aubrey L. White, former park board president, "he has been so successful that our parks are now nationally known."

If you look at the photos, you will see that the garden has had a variety of planting schemes, but the essential architecture has remained the same.The garden was designed in a classical European Renaissance style with bilateral symmetry, a central water feature, and geometrical planting beds.

"I do not suppose there is a single thing in our city that has been taken in as many snap shots as the sunken gardens," wrote Aubrey L. White in 1928. This has not changed. Every year volunteers help the Friends of Manito plant the Duncan Garden that attracts several visitors each year.


Images

John Duncan

John Duncan

John Duncan, Park Superintendent, 1910-1942, Image courtesy of the Tony and Suzanne Bamonte Collection. View File Details Page

The Duncan Gardens

The Duncan Gardens

Image courtesy of Flickr user hey tiffany! under a Creative Commons License View File Details Page

Manito Flower Garden, c. 1910s

Manito Flower Garden, c. 1910s

This lantern slide shows the gardens early in the stages of development Image courtesy of the Spokane City Historic Preservation Office Photograph Collection held at the Washington State Digital Archives View File Details Page

Duncan Gardens, 1960s

Duncan Gardens, 1960s

This photograph was used by Spokane's Chamber of Commerce to encourage visitation to the park. Note the many landscaped transformations the gardens have under gone. Image courtesy of the Spokane City Historic Preservation Office Photograph Collection at the Washington State Digital Archives View File Details Page

Sunken Gardens

Sunken Gardens

Image from Duncan Gardens Folder, Spokane Parks and Recreation Department Files, Spokane City Hall, 5th Floor, Spokane, WA. | Source: Manito General #1 Beginning through 1969, Spokane Parks and Recreation Department Files, Spokane City Hall, 5th Floor, Spokane, WA View File Details Page

Duncan Gardens 1942

Duncan Gardens 1942

Image from Marty Johnstone, Personal Collection | Source: Marty Johnstone, Duncan Gardens, 1942, Personal Collection View File Details Page

Audio

How Sunken Gardens Got its Name

Information for this recording came from the "At 100 with Nature" article written by Jim Kershner, Spokesman Review, Sunday May 16, 2004. View File Details Page

Video

Duncan Gardens

Images courtesy of the Ray Fisher Postcard Collection, Northwest Room, Spokane Public Library, Spokane, WA, the Tony and Suzanne Bamonte Collection, Spokane, WA and the Spokane Parks and Recreation Department, City Hall, Spokane WA. View File Details Page

Cite this Page:

Tracy L. Rebstock, “ Duncan Gardens,” Spokane Historical, accessed April 28, 2017, http://spokanehistorical.org/items/show/25.

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