Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Geography/History Riverside State Park


Unfortunately we did not make it out to this site while we were in Spokane. However, I did want to share the history behind Riverside State Park with you, in case you ever get a chance to go see it for yourself.

This is a special place for me, as my Dad helped to build this park during World War II when he joined the Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC) sometimes called The Three C’s. This was a program started by Franklin D Roosevelt to help get the economy going after the great depression. Men joined the Three C’s and was only paid $30.00 a month.

These men built many State Parks around the United States, or monuments of some sort on lands that became State Parks. My Dad worked in Spokane, hence how my family came to live in Spokane. My Dad did many things in the Three C’s while he served, but the most remembered job he did was to build the rock walls that lined the roads in and out of Riverside State Park.

ph_CCC1 It was back breaking work, and year round, they worked even in the winter months. One story my Dad always told us was the time they unburied a rattlesnake den in the winter. The Rattlesnake inside was asleep. The men were afraid of the snake and didn’t know what to do. My Dad picked it up and took it to the camp fire and began to stroke it, and warm it up by the fire. The snake began to come out of it’s hibernation or deep sleep state, so Dad let it go and they watched as it slithered off, to find a new place to go back to sleep. The other men thought my Dad was crazy, but as he put it, “It was worth the risk to save the life of one snake, that surely the men would have put to death.”

The site of the bridge at Riverside State Park is also known as the Bowl and Pitcher. This is because as you look down stream from the bridge there is a rock formation in the river that looks just like that, a bowl and pitcher. The river runs very wild through here and is not fit for any type of recreation. Believe me one would be out of their minds to think they could raft let alone swim this part of the river.

The bridge above is not the original bridge, it has since been replaced. The original suspension bridge was just a foot bridge that if you stood in the middle of the bridge and outstretched your arms you could easily hold the rails on both sides. Made all of wood, with large cables that were bolted down into the hard granite rock the bridge would swing and sway, and even bounce with every step you take or any wind that blew in off the river.

The design of the new bridge is very similar to the old bridge so just imagine instead of newly fresh looking wood, old aged wood. Some people couldn’t even make their way over this bridge. We always had fun crossing the bridge and seeing how much we could get it to bounce and sway.

To read more about the Civilian Conservation Corps go here.

To read more about Riverside State Park go here.

One place we did visit though that overlooks this park, was Fairmont Cemetery, where my Dad, Mom, Sister and Niece now Rest in peace. 


My Dad chose this Cemetery to be buried in just for that reason. No he is not in a nitch in the wall as shown above, but this is a great picture of how the Cemetery overlooks Riverside State Park.

Selena didn’t quite understand what we were looking at as we visited each grave site, and we didn’t expect her to understand, but this is a must place for me to visit when I go home.

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  1. And it's good that she doesn't understand yet.

    I would have been with the other men your Dad worked with wondering why he didn't kill the snake. It's an amazing thing he did, but I don't think I could have done it for a rattlesnake.

  2. Wow, your dad was brave and kind hearted! I don't think there are many people like your dad. So much history tied to one place.

  3. It really brings history to life, when it's intertwined with our own family stories - thanks for sharing this one!

  4. Great post! I love that your dad saved the snake.

  5. I love reading the stories about your personal history. We have never taken Anna to a cemetery yet - I think it would be quite difficult for her to understand. Just yesterday we explained to her that bodies don't physically go anywhere after death, but get back to earth to "start the circle of life again". It was about a cat, but still...