When Francis Cook bought the land that would become Manito Park, he named it Montrose Park for its incredible selection of wild roses. Before Rose Hill was created, the area you are looking at was a spring fed pond where the elk and deer lived during the zoo years from 1905 to 1932.
As a prank, kids would take goldfish from the pond and put them in the fountain in the Sunken Gardens, now known as the Duncan Gardens. Speaking of Duncan, John W. Duncan designed the first plans for a rose garden in 1941, which included both roses that were native to the area and hybrids. In 1948, the Rose Society proposed a different type of rose garden that would include a test garden and memorial roses. Work began in June 1950 with grading, soil preparation, and a sprinkler system.
In 1951, the American Rose Society chose Spokane to be one of 90 test gardens in the United States. Families, in memory of their loved ones donate memorial roses to the Park. This Rose Garden has one several awards.
The Dahlia Society trial garden shares space on Rose Hill near the old-fashioned rose garden on the west side of the hill. This trial garden is one of only 8 such gardens in the United States and Canada.