Our latest mini-documentary about Spokane history charts the vibrant beginning and swift decline of Liberty Park. Videographer Nathan Brand, who previously featured the Park Inn, answered questions about the video, the future of Liberty Park and what topics he might tackle next.
How did you first encounter the story of Liberty Park?
I first saw the ruins from the backseat of my parents’ station wagon in 7th grade when I moved to Spokane. I didn’t find out what they were until a few months ago when I was having a conversation with listings editor Chey Scott about some of the weirder features of Spokane. She had done an article for the Journal of Business on the restoration of the ruins.
What was the most surprising or interesting thing that you found out while doing research?
When I found out that 1920s geologists thought the park contained a volcano.
Where did you find the photos and other materials?
I got the photos from the Northwest Room at the downtown library and the Joel E. Ferris Archives in the MAC. I got most of the articles from Google, which cataloged over a hundred years of The Spokane Daily Chronicle and The Spokesman-Review.
From what you observed, what do you think it would take to make the park more useful again?
I’d love for the park to have historical markers. Most people who walk the ruins are confused, and I think the city is missing a great opportunity to educate the public on a big part of Spokane’s history.
Do you plan on making other short documentaries on Northwest history?
I’m in the beginning process of a few projects. I’d like to do something on the church leader who assaulted a KREM 2 reporter with a pistol in 1985 and the assault trial that followed. I’m thinking of putting a together a proposal to do a half-hour PBS special on the weirder, lesser-known, more-bizarre elements of Spokane’s history. I’d also like to do a documentary on the history of prostitution in Wallace, Idaho.
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