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.