The Downtown Spokane Rotary Club constructed this cooking shelter in November 1960 at a cost of about $16,000. Dessigned by Henry Bertelsen, Eddy Carlson, and James Architects, It enclosed 2000 square feet, provided table space for 100, and was built with five range units and a double sink. Families, businesses, community organizations and churches all hold special events here.
Picnics have always been a popular part of Manito Park, espcially near the playgrounds and on the hillside near the 18th street entrance. People from all walks of life would spend time in the park with a picnic and their kids. A streetcar would bring them to 10th street and they would walk the rest of the way to Manito, but as the city grew and lines expanded, a streetcar would drop picnickers off just outside the park. So popular was this activity that Charles A. Libby, famous Spokane photographer, took photographs of people picnicking in the park to help advertise the Davenport as a place to purchase a picnic lunch, and promotional literature featured Picnicking to promote the Manito Park Addition as a place to move your family.
According to an ad in the Spokane Daily Chronicle, the presence of the park inflated property values, which limited the type of people who could afford to live around the park. It did not, however, limit the people who could visit the park. The land in front of the picnic shelter would be covered by water during different times of the year until the park installed a drainage system. If you walk up the stairs behind the shelter, take the path to your left and face east, you are looking at the sledding hill. Kids of all ages from the 1900s to present have enjoyed sledding that hill in the winter.