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

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.
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Clearing the Ice
Audio courtesy of Ed Ellesfen, former park employee, interviewed April 4, 2012 by Tracy L. Rebstock.
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