Tourist Camp at High Bridge Park

This camp site along Hangman creek in High Bridge park was a tourist destination from the early 1920s until the 1950s. Featured in the December 1946 trailer topics magazine, Westward Ho, the article praises Spokane for its reasonable rates ($4.50 a week), space, fine shady spots and ice delivery.

The tourist camp appeared in the Spokane Daily Chronicle as Hangman Creek site in 1920 as affiliated with the Inland Automobile Association. The first reference of the park in the park board report in 1921 suggests, due to high traffic, the old tents located at the spot be converted to auto camp sites. The main road into Spokane came down Sunset Hill and passed conveniently close to the camp. In 1924 camp stoves, canopies, and electric light service were added to the park.

The 1920s boom in car camping ended with the Great Depression and High Bridge Tourist camp fell on hard times. As visitation plummeted, there was talk of closing the park due to the cost of upkeep. One industrious resident, C. B. Durant, requested he be able to take over the responsibilities of the tourist camp in 1934. The park board agreed as long as there were no expenses to the city. Durant made reports and gave them to the park board on a monthly basis. In his reports he listed the states represented by visitors to Spokane and highlights the praise for having such a well maintained tourist camp. His reports date from 1934 to 1955 and camping seems to have ended then.

The campsite experienced a brief revival in 1974 during Expo '74 when the sites were reopened. The facilities at the old tourist camp made it easier to sell the idea of People's Park with shower, laundry, and restrooms already within walking distance.

Today, the remains of the High Bridge Tourist camp may be seen in the extra large bathroom facilities at High Bridge Park and the camping pads on the way back to the High Bridge dog park.


High Bridge Tourist Camp
Images courtesy of National Park Service, Library of Congress Flickr Page, Spokane Daily Chronicle clips from Google News Archive, Northwest Room, Spokane Public Library, Spokane, WA, Spokane Parks and Recreation Department, City Hall, Spokane, WA,...
View File Record