Merrick's Natatorium Leases City auto Camp in 1923

Dec 5, 2013

 In 1923, the City of Medford leased the management of its municipal auto camp to Merrick's Natatorium and Inn.  The camp was located behind the inn where it connected by bridge with another camp on the other side of Bear Creek. The city thought combining the two camps under private management would be better for tourists and avoid municipal renovation costs.

 With 15 million cars on American roads, the auto camping fad was peaking by 1922 and tourists were looking for more amenities. Camping was only 50 cents a night in the Rogue Valley and $16.95 for a water-proofed khaki tent with a sewed-in floor.  Merrick's camp was well known for its excellent accommodations that offered cabins, cooking facilities, laundry equipment, bowling, swimming in the natatorium and dancing in the ballroom. In December 1924, Bear Creek flooded the east side of the combined auto camp. The water washed away several cabins and damaged or overturned others.  Two men residing in one of the cabins had to wade quickly to higher ground. Merrick's camp became Merrick’s Motor Inn, which closed in the 1950s.

   Sources: "Save the Auto Camps!" Southern Oregon Heritage, Vol. 3 No. 4 1998. Web. 16 Nov. 2013.  Truwe, Ben. "Medford's Natatorium." Southern Oregon History, Revised. Web. 16 Nov. 2013