Spokane Falls

3793Spokane Falls, Spokane, Washington. CLUI photo.
The eastern Washington city of Spokane, originally called Spokane Falls, has dramatic waterfalls running through its central business district. The city grew up around these falls, which forced a portage or a conversion to land travel, when the town started as a fur-trading center on the Spokane River in the early 19th century. Dams were constructed in the lower falls in 1890 to divert water to industry, and an early hydro-electric plant was built soon afterwards, which is one of two still in service at the falls. In 1974 the blighted industrial land around the falls was transformed into a fairground, and Spokane became the smallest city to host a World’s Fair. A gondola ride over the lower falls, left from the fair, remains in operation.