In The Beginning
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.
A swimming pool was added in the early days. This pool was filled with heated water from the Spokane River, and was the first heated pool in the state of Washington. The pool was called The Natatorium after the Latin word for swimming pool. The park was also renamed to Natatorium Park, and was known as Nat Park or The Nat by its patrons.
Nat 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 and more attractions were added over the years to keep interest in the park alive. Numerous zoo animals were brought in, 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.
Many fires plagued the park over the years, taking out attractions such as the baseball grandstands and Ye Olde Mill. Sometimes the structures were repaired as quickly as possible, other times they were simply removed and a new attraction was created in their place.
After operating for 78 years and surviving two world wars, Nat Park suffered the same fate as many other trolley parks across the country. Reduced interest and smaller turnouts caused The Nat to be closed for good after its 1967 season.
The site of Twickenham Park is now a trailer park, with only a few remnants still on site of the festivities that took place there for so many years.
A Google satellite map of the Nat Park site is Available Here.