Spokane Falls was a gathering place for the area's indigenous people due to the abundance of salmon in the Spokane River.
The first European settlement at Spokane Falls was a fur trading post operated by the British North West Company and, later, the Hudson's Bay Company. Known as "Spokane House", or just "Spokane", and located just below Spokane Falls, it was in operation from 1810-1826.
After the North West Company was absorbed into the Hudson's Bay Company the operations at Spokane House were shifted to Fort Colville, although the Company remained active in the Spokane region.
The first American settlers came in 1871. They were two squatters named James J. Downing and Seth Scranton who built a small sawmill on a claim located near the south bank of the Spokane Falls. James N. Glover and Jasper Matheney, two Oregonians who were passing through the region recognized the value of the Spokane River and its falls.
Glover and Matheney also knew that the Northern Pacific Railroad Company had received a government charter to build a main line across this northern route and in 1873 they purchased the sawmill and the claim from Downing and Scranton.
In 1876 Glover bought out his partner Matheney and opened Spokane's first bank. Glover is considered the founding father of Spokane and later became one of its first mayors as well.
Camp Spokane was established by the U.S. Army at a location 56 miles northwest of Spokane on October 21, 1880 to protect the construction of the Northern Pacific Railway, and to secure the location for U.S. settlement. By 1881, the Northern Pacific Railway was completed at this point, bringing European settlement.
The city of Spokan Falls (without an 'e'; the 'e' was added in 1883) was officially incorporated on November 29, 1881. In 1891, the name was changed to Spokane. Spokane hosted the first environmentally themed World's Fair in Expo '74, becoming the then-smallest city to ever host a World's Fair. This event transformed Spokane's downtown, removing a century of railroad industry that built the city and reinventing the urban core.
The famous spokane clock tower was part of a train station. You can see where bricks were added on and where the roof used to be. Many of the structures built for the World's Fair are still standing and in use. The United States Pavilion sits next to an IMAX theater, and the Washington State Pavilion became the INB Performing Arts Center. The Expo site itself became the 100 acre Riverfront Park, containing, among other features, the U.S. Pavilion, the turn-of-the-20th-century Looff Carousel, and the Great Northern Railway clock tower, the last remnant of the vast rail depot that was demolished for Expo '74. The U.S. Pavilion and the clock tower are prominently featured in the park's logo.
Spokane is a wonderful place to live and play. Within 2 hours of Spokane are forests, deserts mountains and wondrous places like Grand Coulee Dam, Hanford Nuclear site and several indian cultural sites reservations.
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Spokane City History