Peaceful Valley is a neighborhood in the city of Spokane, in the state of Washington. In fact, it is located just below Downtown Spokane on the Spokane River, beneath its falls. The Spokane River Gorge neighborhood snakes around the narrow floodplain that runs through the valley floor of the Spokane River Gorge. Even though it is the smallest neighborhood in the city, in terms of both land and people, it is fairly renowned due to its central location and distinctive character. The neighborhood is characterized by a working-class and bohemian atmosphere.
The Spokane people have been residing in the place that is now known as Peaceful Valley for thousands of years. Fishing camps were developed along the banks of the river in order to take advantage of the abundant salmon runs in the surrounding area. One camp was placed on the eastern boundary of the current neighborhood, right beneath the Spokane Falls, and another was positioned on the western edge, where Latah Creek joins the Spokane River, which is where the current community is located.
Because the location was so abundant in fish, it became a popular gathering spot for tribes from all across the region. Even after the City of Spokane was founded by European Americans, tribes maintained to keep their summer fishing sites in the vicinity. When the Long Lake Dam was built downstream of the river in 1915, the salmon runs were effectively stopped.
Peaceful Valley was formerly known as Poverty Flats during the early days of European settlement in Spokane. Squatters’ and transients’ shacks began springing up in the area in the 1880s, and they were eventually cleared out by landowners in 1891. In addition, the Pietsch House, near the corner of Ash and Main, was erected in 1891, making it the oldest single-family home still standing in Peaceful Valley.
Squatters were cleared out of the neighborhood two years after it was platted by real estate developer C. F. Clough, who began selling land in the area. Clough altered the name of the region from Poverty Flats to Peaceful Valley in order to assist him in his mission. After being halted by the Panic of 1893, it wasn’t until the start of the twentieth century that construction operations in Peaceful Valley began to pick up steam once more. The Pietsch House, the oldest single-family residence still surviving in Peaceful Valley, was constructed in 1891.
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