Mirror Pond

Manito Park Tour - Story 3
Spokane Park Highlights Tour - Story 3

The lake before you originally stretched from Division to Grand. First named Mirror Lake, this shallow water feature (between two and five feet deep depending on the season), has been known over the years as Manito Pond, Mirror Pond, and the Duck Pond. In the past, Mirror Pond was more than just an attractive piece of landscape. At the corner of 18th and Division there used to be a canoe rental. There was a dance hall across the lake on the opposite shore. People enjoyed ice skating and hockey in the winter on this lake.

In an advertisement booklet enticing people to move and buy property in this area, the Spokane Washington Improvement Company boasted "Winter Sport on Manito Lake - Healthy Invigorating exercise and perfectly safe as the lake is but two and one half feet deep," with a photograph of ice skaters on the lake.

So, where does the name Manito come from? Manitou is an Algonquian word meaning "great spirit" and may be spelled Manitou or Manito. The Algonquian religion tells of a supernatural power that permeates the earth, and is manifest in everything around us. Most famously it appears in Henry Wadsworth Longfellow's narrative poem, "Hiawatha," in the section called "The Song of Hiawatha." Longfellow writes,

On the Mountains of the Prairie,
On the great Red Pipe-stone Quarry,
Gitche Manito, the mighty,
He the Master of Life, descending,

The poem goes on to relate that Gitche Manito, the Great Uniter, called together all of the Native American tribes to one place.

Images

Winter Sport on Manito Lake circa 1910z

Winter Sport on Manito Lake circa 1910z

Image from the Spokane Washington Improvement Company, See Spokane Shine, at the Northwest Room, Spokane Public Library, Spokane, WA. | Source: Spokane Washington Improvement Company with Fred B. Grinnell and Company, See Spokane Shine Manito, Tolman Photos, 191z At Northwest Room, Spokane Public Library and Northwest Museum of Arts and Culture Joel E. Ferris Research Library and Archives View File Details Page

Ice skating on Mirror Pond

Ice skating on Mirror Pond

A postcard c. 1910 courtesy of Cousin Sam View File Details Page

Manito Park Pond Spokane 1920s

Manito Park Pond Spokane 1920s

Image from the Frank W. Guilbert Albums (1916-1930), Northwest Room, Spokane Public Library, Spokane, WA. | Source: Frank W. Guilbert, Manito Park Pond, 1920, Frank Guilbert Photo Albums (1916-1930s), Northwest Room, Spokane Public Library, Spokane, WA View File Details Page

Manito Park Pond Spokane 1920s

Manito Park Pond Spokane 1920s

Image from the Frank W. Guilbert Albums (1916-1930), Northwest Room, Spokane Public Library, Spokane, WA. | Creator: Frank W. Guilbert, Manito Park Pond Spokane 1920s, Frank Guilbert Photo Albums 1916-1930s, Northwest Room, Spokane Public Library, Spokane, WA View File Details Page

Blackfoot Indians at Manito Park during second Indian Congress, 1926

Blackfoot Indians at Manito Park during second Indian Congress, 1926

Image from the Frank W. Guilbert Albums (1916-1930) at the Northwest Room, Spokane Public Library, Spokane, WA. | Source: Frank W. Guilbert, Blackfeet Indians at Manito Park during second Indian Congress 1926, Frank Guilbert Photo Albums 1916-1930s, Northwest Room, Spokane Public Library, Spokane, WA View File Details Page

Mirror Lake at Manito circa 1910z

Mirror Lake at Manito circa 1910z

Image from the Spokane Washington Improvement Company, See Spokane Shine, from the Northwest Room, Spokane Public Library, Spokane, WA. | Source: Spokane Washington Improvement Company with Fred B. Grinnell and Company, See Spokane Shine Manito, Tolman Photos, 191z At Northwest Room, Spokane Public Library and Northwest Museum of Arts and Culture Joel E. Ferris Research Library and Archives View File Details Page

Audio

Mirror Pond - Audio

Narration from files at the Northwest Room, Spokane Public Library, Spokane, WA and files at the City of Spokane Parks and Recreation Department, Spokane, WA. View File Details Page

Clearing the Ice

Audio courtesy of Ed Ellesfen, former park employee, interviewed April 4, 2012 by Tracy L. Rebstock. View File Details Page

Cite this Page:

Tracy L. Rebstock, “Mirror Pond,” Spokane Historical, accessed May 25, 2017, http://spokanehistorical.org/items/show/47.
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