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Looking back

Dates in Spokane River history:

About 10,000 years ago: Missoula Floods scour the region, laying the gravels of the Spokane River and an interconnected aquifer.

1810: Explorer David Thompson helps establish the Spokane House, a fur-trading site at the confluence of the Spokane and Little Spokane rivers, a traditional gathering spot for tribes.

1911: Little Falls Dam is built at one of 11 primary American Indian fishing spots along the Spokane River.

1933-’34: Riverside State Park opens.

Late 1930s: Construction of Grand Coulee Dam blocks salmon migration from the upper Columbia River basin, including the Spokane River.

1957: The city of Spokane’s first wastewater treatment plant goes into operation.

1972: Construction of Riverfront Park begins in preparation for Expo ’74.

1988: First Spokane Canoe Classic race.

1990: Opening of the Centennial Trail’s first paved segment.

1995: Spokane Regional Health District issues a “statement of concern” over PCB levels in fish and sediments in the upper Spokane River.

2004: American Rivers ranks the Spokane River sixth on its “10 Most Endangered Rivers” list.

On the Web

Explore an interactive map of the river packaged with this story at riverproject,

and find a link to a recording of Pauline Flett’s 1998 appearance on public radio’s “A Prairie Home Companion.”


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