Comstock Park

Comstock Park is one of many philanthropic works in Spokane. By the 1930s, park design had different priorities, recreation rather than contemplation and an emphasis on youth activities. Mr. and Mrs. E. A. Shadle donated 21 acres and $150,000 to create the park in memory of Mrs. Shadle's father and former Spokane mayor, J. M. Comstock.

Mr. Comstock was considered one of the early pioneers of Spokane, active in the community from the moment he arrived in 1899. He was instrumental in starting The Crescent, one of the largest department stores in Spokane, and he was active in the Spokane River Parkways Association, whose goal was to beautify the Spokane riverbanks and create a highway to connect the Bowl and Pitcher, Seven Mile, Deep Creek Canyon, and other areas along the river east and west of the city.

Harold T. Abbott, landscape architect and recently appointed foreman of the park designed the landscape, laid out the grounds, and supervised the project. Later he would become the parks board president.

The opening ceremony was held on July 1, 1938 and according to the Spokesman Review, those in attendance could "witness every conceivable sport in the park in progress." People were playing touch football, tennis, horseshoes, cricket, volleyball, paddle tennis, checker names, and swimming. The swimming pool was large enough for a tournament and state of the art for its time.

One other achievement made the news, the headline read, "Speaking of women getting in todays workday picture more than ever before, how about these ladies, overseers of the city's pool minded children," with a photo of several women clad in swimsuits posing near the Comstock Pool.

Oddly enough this park has also experiences its own brand of vandalism with a rash of dead squirrels stuffed in trash cans, towers made with picnic tables, and the pool was filled with purple dye in 1979. The park hosts the Spokane Symphony on Labor Day, countless picnics and parties, and still attracts a number of children who play sports.



Comstock Pool - Audio
Text from the Article, New Park Pool Modern Wonder, Spokane Daily Chronicle, 1938.
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Working at Comstock - Ed Ellefsen
Audio courtesy of Ed Ellefsen, former park employee, Oral Interview, April 4, 2012.
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