Fresh Air for All

MAC 100 Stories: A Centennial Exhibition - Story 9

Spokane's basalt outcroppings and deep river gorge captivated Boston landscape designer John Charles Olmsted. His firm, Olmsted Brothers, was instrumental in spreading an urban planning movement called City Beautiful across America. While old cities struggled to create parks from their existing street grids, new Western cities had an opportunity to start from scratch. Public parks, it was thought, would provide residents with fresh air, exercise and a reprieve from hectic city life, as well as stimulate commercial development. Between 1903 and 1908 the Olmsted Brothers created park plans for Seattle, Portland and Spokane; they urged Spokane to cherish and preserve the gorge in its natural state.

MAC 100 Stories: A Centennial Exhibition is told on the Northwest Museum of Arts & Culture campus in Spokane's Browne's Addition, with additional highlights at 15 sites in Spokane and eastern Washington. The exhibit experience (February 22, 2014 - January 2016) weaves stories and programs about Inland Northwest people, places and events by capitalizing on the MAC's extraordinary collection. www.northwestmuseum.org

Spokane Historical presents 15 regional and city tours in partnership with the Northwest Museum of Arts & Culture and its 100 Stories exhibition.

Images

Liberty Park

Liberty Park

Famous for its landscaping, Liberty Park was one three Spokane parks designed by Boston's Olmsted brothers. Unfortunately much of the park was paved over to make way for the construction of the new Interstate-90. Today only two acres of the original park exist and the remaining park retains little of its landscaped past. Image L87-1.2481-33 courtesy of the Northwest Museum of Ars & Culture View File Details Page

Olmsted Brother's Liberty Park Plan, 1909

Olmsted Brother's Liberty Park Plan, 1909

Built originally in 1898, Liberty Park's redesign was completed in 1913. Image courtesy of Spokane Parks and Recreation Department View File Details Page

Liberty Park Wading Pool

Liberty Park Wading Pool

Liberty Park was one of Spokane's main recreational attractions along with Natatorium Park and Manito Park. The wading pool at Liberty Park was a great place to cool down during hot Spokane summers. Image courtesy of the Washington State Archives, Digital Archives View File Details Page

Liberty Park Street Car, c. 1908

Liberty Park Street Car, c. 1908

Many families relied on street cars for access to the city's network of parks. Image L86-48.93 courtesy of Northwest Museum of Arts & Culture View File Details Page

Downriver Park, "Woman on Rock"

Downriver Park, "Woman on Rock"

Downriver Park was one of five large parks the Olmsted Brothers proposed for Spokane. Located on the southern banks of the Spokane River near Fort George Wright, much of its natural splendor witnessed by the Olmsted Brothers remains to this day. Image courtesy of the Washington State Archives, Digital Archives View File Details Page

Brickyard, 1889

Brickyard, 1889

The J.T. and Davie Company Brick Yard once stood where Cannon Hill Park is located today. The Park Board contracted with the Olmsted Brothers to create a park system where city residents could enjoy the outdoors. Image L86-1068 courtesy of the Northwest Museum of Arts & Culture. View File Details Page

Cannon Hill, c. 1910

Cannon Hill, c. 1910

Of the three Spokane parks that were designed by the Olmsted Brothers, Cannon Hill Park has best retained its Olmsted influence: landscaped pond, stone foot bridge and curved drive. Image courtesy of the Washington State Archives, Digital Archives View File Details Page

Corbin Park, 1910

Corbin Park, 1910

Among the Olmsted Brothers' many suggestions for Corbin Park, its winding pathways gave park visitors a peaceful walk through its scenic beauty. Image courtesy of the Washington State Archives, Digital Archives View File Details Page

Cite this Page:

“Fresh Air for All,” Spokane Historical, accessed April 28, 2017, http://spokanehistorical.org/items/show/409.
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