Frederick Law Olmstead’s Pacific Northwest Legacy: Spokane, Washington

spokane_manito2 spokane_duncanIn honor of Frederick Law Olmstead’s birthday (26 April 1822-28 August 1903), the Digital Public Library posted his plans for Central Park.

But as is well known, parks all across the country owe a debt to Olmstead and his ideas.

From “Olmstead Parks in Spokane” at HistoryLink:

“In 1907, the youthful Spokane was ripe for beautification. Aubrey L. White, the president of the city’s new Park Board, was filled with enthusiasm for the City Beautiful movement, and he also felt a sense of urgency. Because Spokane was growing so fast, he felt that the city had to act immediately if it were to acquire parkland cheaply and avoid the mistakes of the big cities back east.

He knew the Olmsteds were designing projects in Seattle and Portland, so he hired the firm to stop off in Spokane to prepare a report for the city.

Over several visits in 1907 and 1908, White accompanied John Charles Olmsted or his associate, James Frederick Dawson, all over the city — to the river gorge, to Manito Park, to Indian Canyon, to Corbin Park.”

Although these pictures show the more cultivated and less wild parts of one of Spokane’s many parks, the Olmstead influence is still alive and well — as is the Duncan Gardens Rose Garden shown above.

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