Olmsted Brothers and the Power of Public Spaces

National Trust for Historic Preservation Field Session

Historic landscapes, like historic buildings, offer compelling narratives – about the origins of place, as well as the hopes, dreams and accomplishments of the communities that built or shaped them.

This National Trust for Historic Preservation Field Session will present the rich history of the Spokane River Gorge, one of the earliest-inhabited places in Washington State, the source of Spokane development, the focus of a 1908 Olmsted Brothers Plan and the centerpiece of a massive urban greenbelt. This tour will demonstrate how historic landscapes can at once provide powerful settings that make civic history, promote personal experience and carry communities into the 21st century.

Spokane began as Spokane Falls and its surrounding river valley was a gathering place and focus of settlement for the areas indigenous people due to fertile hunting grounds and abundance of salmon in the Spokane River. With the rivers and led by explorers, Spokane quickly became a fur trading post resulting in the first European settlement. New settlers utilized the river and falls, building sawmills and harnessing the power of the river, along with other area resource extraction industries, including mining. In 1881, the Northern Pacific Railroad Company (later the Union Pacific) built a main line across this northern route bringing major settlements to the area as a commercial center, shipping largely natural resources to distant markets.

Information: Mike Edwards

This tour is good for:

  • Driving

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