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Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883
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Jim Kershner’s this day in history

From our archives, 100 years ago

In an event with lasting repercussions for all Spokane nature lovers, John A. Finch, 61, pioneer Spokane mining man and businessman, died suddenly at his summer home in Hayden Lake.

Finch had been working in his beloved garden the day before and had seemed in good health. However, he collapsed and died in his bathroom the next morning.

The Spokesman-Review called him a “noble citizen” who had been “in the front rank in every movement for the public welfare” since he arrived in Spokane 25 years earlier.

Finch was born in England and came to the U.S. when he was 3. He worked in mines in Colorado and then became associated with A.B. Campbell (of Campbell House fame) and went on to develop the Gem Mine and the Hecla Mine in the Coeur d’Alene district.

Nature lovers are indebted to him today because his estate would eventually allow the city to acquire Spokane’s botanical treasure, the John A. Finch Arboretum. Finch was well-known for his love of flowers and trees.

“It was one of the beautiful things about his character that he loved nature,” said Kirtland Cutter, architect and close friend. “It was a delight to talk with him, for he saw in the flowers which he loved … and in the birds which he knew as few do know them, objects of love and deep interest.”

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