In 1883 Spokane Falls was a small, crude, pioneer trading post with around 1500 population. There was one building on the north side of the river. Indians were numerous. They had permanent camps in Indian Canyon, west, of town, at Nine Mile, and along the Little Spokane River. Their tepees dotted the hillsides and their ponies grazed on the bunch grass beneath the pines.


Early one spring forenoon in the 1895, two young men, both of them in their twenties, might have been seen in a spring buggy driving through the unpaved business district of Spokane headed west.


The young man who held the reins was Aubrey L. White, manager of the book department of the John W. Graham & Co. store, then located at the corner of Riverside Avenue and Post Street. Seated at the driver's left was W. H. Cowles, who, only the year before, had gained control of the town's morning newspaper and retitled it The Spokesman-Review. Both young men were members of Spokane Club, then located in the Lamona Block.


Although boarding elsewhere, White had breakfasted at the club that Sunday morning with W.H. Cowles, who lived at the club, and had given a lyrical account of an "unusually interesting waterfall" he had discovered about a half hour's drive from the center of Spokane.  Upon a show of interest by the publisher, White had offered to drive him out to view the beautiful spot.


The newspaperman agreed and his fellow clubman telephoned the livery stable he did business with (one of seventeen in town) to hitch up his horse. With this rig he had explored the countryside all around Spokane and become acquainted with every bend of the river, rock formation, and stretch of hill and woodland. With their horses trotting along to the westward, the two clubmen came to a gulch near the junction of Hangman Creek and the Spokane River.


About a mile in length, this cleft in the hills, known as Indian Canyon, was covered by a tangle of native syringe and wild shrubbery that hid a small brook. In the deepest part of the canyon the stream came spectacularly into view in the picturesque waterfall. "From this trip, wrote White, "began my own and Mr. Cowles's joint action for building up Spokane's park system to a point worthy of the city that he saw in the future . We talked of what a wonderful park this Indian Canyon area would make," White reminisced, "but it was over twenty years before we finally succeeded in securing it and much adjoining land and created Indian Canyon Park through which now runs the famous Rimrock Parkway and to which the new eighteen-hole golf course adjoins."


Aubrey White was horrified when in 1909 a railroad had marred the beauty of Indian Canyon by constructing a dirt fill across its' valley at what is now Government Way.


In 1910 Spokane citizens passed a "Million Dollar Park Bond" assuring Spokane a magnificent park system. With the passage of the bond issue Spokane was able to finance the Olmstead Brothers recommendations, including the purchase of Indian Canyon and Palisades Park.


Taken from "News for an Empire" by Ralph E. Dyar published in 1952

Palisades

History


From "News for an Empire" by Ralph E Dyar