Establishing a Legacy
The name Hamblen has been closely connected to Spokane’s parks for over a century. Laurence Hamblen was named to the City of Spokane Park Board in 1912, elected Park Board president in 1930 and held that role until his death in 1956. As Park Board president he appointed a committee in January 1951 to work on the creation of a foundation to support parks and recreation in Spokane – the Spokane Parks Foundation. Laurence Hamblen was elected as one of the Foundation’s first Board members, and served the Foundation for the next five years.
For three years the name Hamblen was missing from the Foundation’s Board, until April 1959 when Laurence’s son, Herb, was elected to the Board. Within the month, Herb was elected as Foundation president – a role he held for almost three decades.
Herb remained a member of the Foundation's Board, often serving as an officer or leading special projects or committees, until December 1993. In total, he served the Spokane Parks Foundation for 33 years and 4 months. During this time, he also ran a successful law practice and was State Representative for 6 years, including his term as Speaker of the House from 1947 - 1949.
In recognition of his many years of service and his heroic efforts on behalf of the parks, the City of Spokane dedicated the Herb Hamblen Conservation Area in 1994. This area includes 63 acres of City park land permanently held for conservation, and runs along the Spokane River from the Maple Street bridge, ending just across the River from High Bridge Park.
A plaque stood guard at an overlook along the bluff, but when the Centennial Trail was moved with the building of Kendall Yards, the plaque was left with its back to the Trail. Thanks to Greenstone Homes, the plaque is being rebuilt and will be installed this spring, with a rededication ceremony on May 24.
The Spokane Parks Foundation is lucky to have had Herb Hamblen as our advocate for so long, and we are honored to lead the planning of the rededication ceremony.