It’s known as Riverfront Park, and it’s a public urban park in Spokane, Washington. The Spokane Parks & Recreation Department, which also owns and operates Riverfront Park, is in charge of it. With a total land area of 100 acres (40 hectares), the park includes the Upper Spokane Falls, the country’s second largest urban waterfall, which, when combined with the Lower Spokane Falls, becomes the country’s largest urban waterfall.

The park’s location and the nearby falls are said to have been a Native American gathering spot, with a number of fishing camps along the base of the falls. In 1871, a claim was made and a sawmill was built near the falls. The mill was eventually purchased by James N. Glover, who was aware of the falls’ water power potential as well as the knowledge that the Northern Pacific Railroad Company had been granted a government charter for the construction of a main line through the area.

Much of the terrain near the Spokane Falls had been industrialized by the late nineteenth century, with sawmills and flour mills taking advantage of the plentiful energy offered by the Spokane River and Spokane Falls. Flumes and waterwheels were used to mechanically drive sawmills and grain mills that were built along the river’s banks.

The Washington Water Power Company built a timber dam on the river at the Lower Falls in 1890 (which was deactivated in 1974) and another dam on the Upper Falls in 1922 to accommodate the expanding demand for energy and modernize the city (which was decommissioned in 1974). Riverfront Park has a number of interesting features, including these working hydroelectric facilities on the falls from the park’s industrial past.

The park’s potential as a showcase for the Spokane Falls was recognized as early as 1908, but it would take another 64 years to accomplish those ambitions. A disused railyard now serves as the park’s home. Downtown Spokane, which included what is now Riverfront Park, was once a major passenger and freight train center, and it remained so for decades after the Great Depression.

Visit Mount Spokane State Park – Spokane WA