Nestled between the majestic grandeur of Mt. Shorty and the pristine waters of Lake Tepid, lies Tepid City, Washington State, the heart of North Chester A. Arthur County. This vacation hotspot has been the travel destination for many generations, and provides many fine restaurants, hotels, museums, as well as other exciting things to see and do.
Take the Theodore Robert Bundy Memorial Scenic Highway north off Highway 2 out of Spokane, Washington to the Devil's Hairbrush National Forest. You are about to enjoy a vacation you and your family will never forget!
The original inhabitants of the region were the Runamuk Indians, a peaceful band of hunters and fishers who made use of native materials for the arts and crafts which occupied much of their spare time. The area is also widely known as the place the Lewis And Clark Expedition missed, as Meriwether Lewis and William Clark bickered over what direction to take, and ended up travelling in a more southerly direction when they wouldnít ask directions. For most of the first half of the 18th Century few white men visited the area, but those who did always left with a lovely souvenir provided by the Runamuks.
Tepid City was founded in the late 1860ís by the John Tepid family, who decided this was the place to be after two of their wagon wheels broke and an ox died as they were trying to relocate the Oregon Trail. There they built a log cabin which later grew to become a general store and boarding house as more settlers took the wrong path. As the area grew more populated, the task of laying out streets fell squarely on the shoulders of John Jr., who mapped out the street plan still in use today. It was his son, John III (or Junior Junior), who incorporated Tepid City, and became its first mayor.
For many years, most of the people of the region were involved in the leech trade. Tepid City, a bustling boom town in the teens and twenties, shipped a steady stream of leech pelts and delicacies to an eager America. This came to an end in the thirties when the government declared the spotted leech an endangered species, and set up the south end of Lake Tepid as the South Lake Tepid Bottomlands National Spotted Leech Wildlife Preserve and Recreation Area. The city went into a bit of a decline until the always helpful Runamuks convinced the white inhabitants that tourism was the way to go. Now the partnership between the Runamuk tribe and the whites is so strong that it is often difficult to pry them apart.
Tepid City is a medium to small city of around 4400 people. Mayor Luke Warm heads the government, which is unusual in that his position is hereditary. The City Council is chosen at random every four years by a drawing held on election day. This is followed by the Leech Festival that lasts through Thanksgiving.
The city is modern in every respects, and ahead of its time in some. Back in 1994, Tepid City set up a deal with Big Alís Discount Computer Warehouse to make every home on line. Now the populace can e-mail each branch of the government and remain informed. Especially popular is Mayor Warmís home page, which consists of ramblings about government and life in general, dirty clip art, and pictures his son, Luke Jr. made in school.
Mayor Luke Warm
One of the benefits of the on-line city takes place in the library. There is a continuing project to transfer all the libraryís contents to computer so that citizens need not even visit the library for a book or magazine. This came about following a regrettable incident involving an unknown librarian and the late Quinn Alt who wished to check out a volume on Medieval poetry, although he had forgotten his library card. The library staff hopes to have removed all the library books from the library by the year 2000, though there are debates as to whether to convert the space for storage or a museum.
Like every town, Tepid City has its share of fine restaurants, hotels, and museums, but rather than bore you with a listing here, we urge you to go seek them yourself.
PLACES OF INTEREST
Set in the middle of the Devilís Hairbrush National Park, majestic Mt. Shorty rises an impressive 452 feet above the waters of Lake Tepid. Home to the Runamuk Indian Tribe, it is also holds the Sacred Nose Holes Twin Geysers National Monument, the Anemia Loop Interpretive Dance Trail, the Ancient Indian Cliff Graphic Art, and the Mt. Shorty Ski Resort and Go Kart run.
South Lake Tepid Bottomlands
Spotted Leech Wildlife Preserve & Recreation Area
A must see, the preserve is the only habitat in the world of the rare spotted leech, whose pelts were once used to keep this country toasty warm in winter. The Preserve is located at the bottom end of Lake Tepid, with easy access from the Theodore Robert Bundy Memorial Scenic Bighway by way of Forest Road 37, provided the signs have not been hacked down by vandals. The two track is open year round, except during Winter, or when itís raining or during the flood season. For those who wish not to damage the underside of or lose altogether in the bogs, the family station wagon, Big Alís Used Military Vehicle Rentals is just up the bighway.
The Preserve houses many interesting wildlife, and numerous recreational activities, provided those recreational opportunities include hiking, backpacking, tent camping, and photography, as motorboating, fishing, snowmobiling, four wheeling, fossil collecting, hunting, picnicking, and flag football are strictly outlawed.
Half Moon State Park and Devilís Outhouse Campground
One of the premier state parks in Eastern Washington is the Half Moon State Park, located on the pristine shores of Lake Tepid. Voted one of the thirty seven best parks in the state, Half Moon is chock full of recreational opportunities, as well as the main breeding ground of the rare and lovely Spotted Mosquito. Half Moon is also known for being one of the best places to practice first aid. Many Boy Scout troops have spent profitable summers here treating bites from a variety of insects, large predatory animals, fish, and waterfowl, as well as practicing bandaging, treating shock, making splints, and curing glaucoma.
While at Half Moon, visitors can camp in the Devilís Outhouse Campground, which the Runamuks named whoolitamatch. The campground has 132 sites with electrical hookups, cable, wifi, saunas, and air conditioning, 210 primitive sites, and seven sites for transients.
Chief Wish-E-Wash-E Golf Course
Named after the favorite leader of the Runamuk Indians, this is a challenging thirteen hole golf course (four holes were washed away in the great mudslide of í95) set on the shores of beautiful Lake Tepid and the flat that was once known as Little Shorty. After an invigorating partial round of golf, visitors can while away the hours at the 19th hole (temporarily renamed the 14th hole) with a wide selection of spirits and libations, including the local microbrew.
Tepid City Official Mascot "Lefty the Leech"
The Old Leech Pelt Processing Plant Museum
A must see for all those keen on the history of the whole leech trade thing. The museum is open year round and the admission is free, although Bubba and Tony strongly recommend a donation of not less than ten US dollars.
The Old Tepid Homestead Museum
Located in Tepid Corners, this was the original site of the Tepid family until the great leech infestation of 1873 drove the family to the present site of Tepid City. Now fully restored, visitors can see how the early pioneers lived, should they really want to. There is also a snack bar, gift shop, and first aid station located on the premises. Admission is $4.50 for adults, $3.50 for children under twelve, and really small kids are requested to remain in the car.
Tanya Tepid-Warm poses in the Old Tepid Homestead
The Municipal County Courthouse-Police &
Fire Station-General Hospital-Public Library- Junior High School Building
Tepid City is one of the few municipalities to combine all city and county offices in one structure. Known affectionately as "The Big Ugly Building in the middle of town," this edifice is done in a combination of Greek Revival and Post Modernist styles by the noted architect Frank Lloyd Notsoveryright in 1952. Tours are given weekdays year round (except holidays) at 10:00 AM, 11:30 AM, 12:45 PM and 2:37 PM.
THE TEPID CITY AND DEVIL'S HAIRBRUSH NATIONAL FOREST MAP
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