The wealth of fish and water drew the original inhabitants of the region over the millenia. But starting in the 19th century, different people came to the falls.
During Expo '74, the seven bronze plaques in front of you were dedicated to these "Christian Pioneers" by a group of local churches.
But the name "Christian Pioneers" is not entirely accurate and ignores some who were also part of the story of the falls.
The first group, fur companies and fur traders, used the same rivers and trails as the native peoples and were not necessarily interested in sharing religion so much as gathering furs. David Thompson described how the " Kulyspell and Skeetshoo tribes" would stop what they were doing to hear the stories that they told of the wider world, including the ocean.
Some were interested in Christianity but were already living as was the case of Spokane Garry whose life spanned the decades of the fur trade, study in a Hudson's Bay Company school, return to the Spokane, white settlement and the explosion of industry around the falls.
Others, like the missionaries, struggled with their mission. As the artist Paul Kane noted when he visited the mission to the Spokane, the white Christian missionaries had not succeeded in turning the Indians into copies of themselves. "No influence, however," he wrote, "seems to be able to make agriculturists of them, as they still pursue their hunting and fishing..."
James Glover was both awed by the beauty of the falls and saw it as a source of power which could be owned. He had to "possess it." Once he did, the falls would be almost totally transformed.