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Friday, October 18, 2019  Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883
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News >  Spokane

100 years ago in Spokane: City honors transformation of Cannon Hill Park from brickyard into ‘beauty spot’

The Spokesman-Review told the story of Cannon Hill Park on Spokane’s South Hill on March 2, 1919. The park previously was a brickyard. (Spokesman-Review archives)
The Spokesman-Review told the story of Cannon Hill Park on Spokane’s South Hill on March 2, 1919. The park previously was a brickyard. (Spokesman-Review archives)

The Spokesman-Review’s Sunday magazine section recounted the history of one of Spokane’s “beauty spots,” Cannon Hill Park on the South Hill.

Back in 1887, it was a thriving brickyard. J. T. Davie, a Scottish brick maker, found ample clay deposits in a “clear space in the timber” and “eagerly seized upon it for a brickyard.” They built a “cook house” next to the clay pits and began churning out bricks for building Spokane’s businesses and paving its roads.

The Washington Brick, Lime and Sewer Pipe Co. took over the brickyard in 1888. Before long, all of the clay deposits were exhausted and the company moved on to other sites.

The property was “idle for years,” but around 1909 developers acquired the land.

“The site of the brickyard, with its small natural lake or swamp, was rapidly converted into a delightful park with green slopes rising from the old pits, now become miniature lakes,” the story said. “Later, a shallow pit was curbed and paved, providing an attractive wading pool. The homebuilders were attracted by the beauty of the park, the splendid pines and the gentle slopes.”

From the weather beat: Spokane had endured a cold and snowy February in 1919. A total of 29.9 inches of snow fell that month, compared to only 7.4 inches the previous February. Winter wasn’t finished yet. On March 1, the city had another 2 inches of snow.

(The National Weather service reported Friday that its records show that the total snowfall in Spokane in February 1919 was 21.9 inches.)

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