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Riverfront Park surplus auction includes animal figures that once graced mini golf course

UPDATED: Fri., July 21, 2017, 10:10 p.m.

Putt-putt and Riverfront Park fans pay heed: Your chance at owning history is Saturday.

Among park items the city of Spokane will auction are three larger-than-life figures that once graced the U.S. Pavilion’s miniature golf course. Resin rabbit, mouse and pig figurines will be up for sale at Post Falls auction house Reinland Equipment Auctions, 2618 N. Beck Road, beginning at 9 a.m.

Mini golf was first established in the pavilion in the early 1980s. The attraction took the place of roller skating in the summer months to the chagrin, at the time, of some City Council members upset about the suddenness of a decision by the autonomous Park Board. Hal McGlathery, then-manager of Riverfront Park, remembered the friction but not the farm animals.

“Jim West panned the fact that we were putting a miniature golf course in,” McGlathery said, referring to the former city councilman and mayor.

An article from the April 2, 1982, edition of the Spokane Daily Chronicle indicated the dispute was over expenditure of city money to build the 19-hole course while penny-pinching on concessions. McGlathery said after the opening of the course, built with private donations, city leadership came to appreciate the attraction.

Fianna Dickson, a spokeswoman for the parks department, said it wasn’t clear when the animals were acquired. The rabbit figure outfitted in a waiter’s vest and bearing a striking resemblance to a certain Looney Tunes favorite taunted players to strike the ball between its legs at least by 1987, based on a photograph that appeared in The Spokesman-Review.

Among the other surplus Riverfront Park items up for auction:

  • Power stair climber
  • Microphone stand and podium
  • Oscilloscope (a device used to measure electric voltage)
  • Four Kona bikes
  • Three Parkpre mountain bikes

The auction will also include three hollow replicas of horses used on the Looff Carrousel when one of the regular equestrians was stabled for repairs, Dickson said.

Mini golf has likely seen its last days for a while in the U.S. Pavilion. The park master plan does not call for its return to the pavilion, and plans for the renovated structure do not include a place for putt-putt play. McGlathery, who has advocated for the return of rides to the pavilion and saving the Imax theater in the park that is also headed for demolition, said he didn’t expect putt-putt to return to the park.

“Honestly, I just have no attachment to the miniature golf course,” McGlathery said.


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