Following Ice Storm and the identification of some cultivated flowers and plants, Parks and Recreation staff began an extensive research process and led a community master planning process to restore the Gardens. The plan was approved in 2000. With grant funding and community donations, the initial restoration process began in April 2005 to rescue the rose arbor and perennial garden staircases. Myrtle Woldson came forward on December 29, 2005 in honor of her mother, Edwidge Woldson, to fund the remaining restoration of the Heritage Gardens.
The Heritage Gardens were restored to the period they flourished following their redesign in 1911. Some historic plant materials survived. Plant material was reintroduced in 2007 based on historic research incorporated into the planting plan; approved by the Spokane Landmarks Commission, July 2006.
The Moore-Turner Heritage Gardens are situated on a steep hillside with an elevation of approximately 120 vertical feet. As a historic site, to preserve historic integrity the structures, staircases, and trails retain their original design. You will experience numerous steps, inclines, and a lack of handrails.
In 1889 Frank Rockwood Moore (1852-1895) and his wife Sarah Frances Sherlock Moore purchased a section of the south hill's wooded hillside, 525 West Seventh Avenue, and hired Kirtland Cutter to design their home. Drawn to Seventh Avenue's panoramic views of Spokane, the Moore's prominent two-and-one-half story home was a combination of architectural styles and featured a sweeping front lawn and drive. During the construction of the home – the future site of the Heritage Gardens – the north-facing hillside was cleared and then replanted with young trees.
Before his death in 1895, Mr. Moore served as the first president of the Washington Water Power Company, held investments in Idaho mines and Spokane area real estate, and with James Glover, established the First National Bank. Mr. Moore is attributed with constructing the series of hillside terraces, basalt rock retaining walls, and well house.
U.S. Senator George Turner (1850-1932) and his wife Bertha Dreher Turner took possession of the house and its grounds in 1896. A prominent political figure, Judge Turner (as he wished to be called) was a member of the state's Constitutional Convention of 1889, served as a Washington State Supreme Court Justice, was appointed an international arbiter by Presidents Theodore Roosevelt, Taft and Wilson, and in his private law practice was an authority on corporation and mining law. In 1895, Judge Turner added to his real estate and mining investments a partnership in the Seattle Post-Intelligencer.
The Turners hired Portland landscape architect Hugh Bryan in 1911 to make improvements to the gardens. Prominent structures and features in the Arts and Crafts style of garden design were added to the original Victorian-influenced garden. The two-tiered pergola, arbor, tea house, and water features as well as the conservatory and greenhouses were incorporated into the basalt-faced terraces and staircases. Headlines from a Spokane Daily Chronicle article October 20, 1911 described carloads of flowers, bushes, shrubbery, and trees were planted and noted the perennial garden as the largest in the northwest.
The Heritage Gardens was the site of many summer parties and flourished until Judge Turner's death in 1932. Coinciding with the Depression of the 1930's, the property was acquired by the bank holding the Turner's outstanding mortgage. After unsuccessful attempts to sell and auction the home, the house was demolished in 1940. The house stood where the lower parking lot is located today.
Today, the Moore-Turner Heritage Gardens are owned and operated by the City of Spokane Parks and Recreation Department. The adjoining Daniel Chase Corbin property to the east and the Moore-Turner property were purchased by the Spokane Park Board in 1945 to form Pioneer Park which was renamed Edwidge Woldson Park in 2010. The Heritage Gardens are listed on the local and state historic registers and situated in the Marycliff/Cliff Park Historic District.