After an epic ice storm in 1998, Spokane Parks and Recreation staff made an astounding discovery—the Moore-Turner Heritage Gardens. Established in 1889 the gardens had lain destitute and forgotten for over fifty years. They had originally served as residential gardens for the Moore and Turner families. Frank Moore, first president of the Washington Water Power Company and co-founder of the First National Bank and his wife Sarah purchased the land in 1889 and had their home built there as well as a series of hillside terraces, basalt rock retaining walls, and a well house. After Moore’s death, U.S. Senator George Turner and his wife Bertha came into possession of the house. In addition to being a Senator, George was a decorated Washington State Supreme Court Justice and member of the state’s Constitutional Convention of 1889. The Turners added much to the gardens including a two-tiered pergola, arbor, tea house, conservatory, greenhouses, and water features. The gardens remained vibrant for many years until Judge Turner’s death in 1932, when the property fell into the hands of the bank holding Turner’s outstanding mortgage. The house was demolished in 1940, and the gardens were reclaimed by nature and lay dormant for half a century.
Upon their rediscovery, the Spokane Parks and Recreation staff began an extensive research and community master planning process to restore the gardens. The restoration process began in 2005 thanks to the help of grant funding and community donations, most notably from Myrtle Woldson, who gave a large donation in honor of her mother, Edwidge Woldson. The Moore-Turner Heritage Gardens were finally opened to the public on August 18, 2007.
The gardens contain many of their original attractions and some new additions as well. Visitors can enjoy a lilac grove, a pedestrian trail, an outbuilding site and carriage road, a perennial garden, a pond and pergola, a rose garden, a tea house, and a well walk and well house. However, the garden’s best attraction is the sheer beauty of the view, the breathtaking masterpieces of nature, and the storied history each site contains.
The park is open after Memorial Day through August, Wednesday through Sunday, 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. May 15th to Memorial Day and in September the weekend hours are from 10 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.
For more information on the gardens and to see historic pictures, visit http://spokaneparks.org/index.php/Parks/page/105/.