Most of Manito Park is visible from the top of Loop Drive. Did you ever wonder where Spokane got the land for this park?
In 1884, Francis Cook, an early settler of Spokan Falls and a newspaper man who started the Spokan Times in 1879, platted the property on the South Hill thinking of the money to be made from the wooded and hilly area, perfect for fine residences. Cook was a man of many firsts: he brought the first Italian bees, used the first steam drill, and organized the first agricultural fair north of the Snake River. Cook purchased the forty acres where the Cathedral of St. John now stands and two years later purchased the 160 acres that included Manito park.
Francis Cook named this area Montrose Park for the wild roses that grew here. In 1888 the first horse-powered trolley came up Grand Blvd; a few months later Cook had a streetcar powered by steam bringing people up the South Hill with his Spokan Falls and Montrose Motor Railroad Company. They would get off at 14th street and walk the remaining distance to the park with their picnic baskets on sunny afternoons.
Unfortunately, Cook lost his house and land in the depression of 1893, and other parties quickly snapped it up. The new owners (Spokane Washington Improvement Company, Spokane and Montrose Motor Company, the Washington Water and Power Company, Hypotheek Bank, and E.P. Hogan) decided to give the ninety acres where Manito Park sits to the City of Spokane providing they run roads and water to the South Hill. The City dedicated Manito Park in 1904.
The loop bridge was built in 1930 and reflects the style of buildings on the property at that time.