Friday, February 24, 2017

Spokane’s Natatorium Park is Next ‘Milestone’

The swimming pool at Natatorium Park.
The events, developments, and people who have shaped the history of our region will be examined through a series of programs sponsored by the Museum of North Idaho and the library through November.
Historian Robert Singletary will present the next program in the “Inland Northwest Milestones” series Thursday, March 23, at 7 p.m. with information and images from Spokane’s Natatorium Park.
Natatorium Park began as a trolley park, one of many that sprung up across the country. These parks were often owned by the trolley lines, and were placed at the end of the tracks to give riders a reason to ride.
Initially named Twickenham Park after a housing development of the same name, the park's first attraction was a first-class baseball diamond that went into service on July 18, 1889. Soon after, a hotel and casino were added to create additional interest in the park beyond the sporting events that took place there.
The park also featured a beautifully landscaped garden and picnic grounds, along with a lily pond and an elaborate outdoor fountain in its setting on the bank of the Spokane River.
More attractions were added over the years to keep interest in the park alive. Numerous zoo animals and top-name performers were brought in to entertain the crowds, the grounds were turned into a park setting, and amusement rides were added to the park. Reduced interest and smaller turnouts caused Natatorium to be closed for good after its 1967 season.
The free lecture series is offered in the Community Room, usually on the fourth Thursday of each month, except for the final program which will be presented on Nov. 30 due to the Thanksgiving holiday.
Singletary will step away from the lectern on April 27 when songwriter and storyteller Tracy Morrison will present “Idaho Women: Stories and Folksongs.” This program is made possible through the support of the Speakers Bureau at the Idaho Humanities Council, the state-based affiliate of the National Endowment for the Humanities. Local support is provided by the Friends of the Library.
Additional programs in the Milestones series will be:
 May 25: The Military in North Idaho.
 June 22: Farragut College and Technical Institute.
 July 27: Coeur d’Alene Regattas.
Aug. 24: Farming in North Idaho.
Sept. 28:
Inland Empire Electric Line.
 Oct. 26: Kirtland Cutter: Spokane’s Master Architect.
Nov. 30: History of Skiing in North Idaho.

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