In his book, “The Boys in the Boat,” Daniel J. Brown references Spokane’s historic amusement park on the river, Natatorium, in the early 1920s. “They could take in entertainment … as dazzling as the new Loof carousel,” Brown wrote. I had fond memories of the Nat where our congregation held picnics and I got nauseous on the merry go round.
It was that carousel that was scheduled to be dismantled in 1964 that I wrote about in a byline United Press International feature that was distributed to newspapers camera-ready.
I interviewed the park’s owner, Lloyd Vogel, who was inebriated at the time. (He reaked of booze.) Natatorium had lost its commercial viability and historic preservation wasn’t discussed. So the park was for sale and the historic merry go round would be lost.
Years later the park was converted into a mobile home community, but the dance hall remained on the site. The carousel was moved to a park adjoining the river in downtown Spokane for the world’s fair and I rode it more than 10 years ago.
I left Spokane for Coast Guard boot camp before the feature was distributed and never knew if it appeared in newspapers. The Loof merry-go-round is comparable to the one on the Santa Monica pier.