This park is named after Father Louis Hennepin, a Beligian missionary who accompanied the French explorer Sieur de La Salle to this area in 1678. Hennepin, a Recollect priest, was not the first European to see Niagara Falls, but his colorful written accounts provided an opportunity for Europeans to read about Niagara Falls for the first time. Lewiston: First European Settlement in Western New York in 1720. Long before there was a United States, the French called their North American territory New France. Many French explorers visited this area, but the first was Etienne Brule who is believed to have come here in 1615 when he was only 23 years old. He was a scout for French explorer Samuel de Champlain who sent him into the wilderness to learn about the Native Americans. The first permanent settlement in the Western New York region was Frenchman Chabert de Joncaire's Trading Post, which was built in 1720 and located at present day Artpark. It was called Magazin Royale, or "The King's Store." Joncaire was earlier taken captive by the Senecas, and was going to be executed. But they admired his bravery so much, they adopted him into the tribe. He also was involved in building the "House of Peace," today known as the French Castle at Old Fort Niagara, in 1726 at the mouth of the Niagara River. Etienne Brule. First European to explore this area in 1615. Chabert de Joncaire(1670-1739) obtained permission from the local Seneca tribe to build a trading post in Lewiston in 1720. It burned down in 1740. Hennepin Arrives Here in 1678. Hennepin kept a journal of his adventures, and arrived in Lewiston on December 6, 1678, and visited the Falls the next day. This mural was created by renowned artist, Thomas Hart Benton. The original is located in the Visitor's Center at the Robert Moses Power Vista in Lewiston. First Image of Niagara Falls. This is the first image of Niagara Falls that Europeans saw in 1697. It was based on Hennepin's written description. "A Vast and Prodigious Cadence of Water." When Fr. Hennepin arrived back in France, he established an account of his travels in 1683, which became very popular and included this first description of Niagara Falls: "Between the Lake Ontario and Erie is a vast and prodigious Cadence of Water which falls down after a surprising and astonishing manner, insomuch that the Universe does not afford its Parallel. The Niagara River is so rapid above this Descent, that it violently hurries down the wild Beasts who endeavor to pass it to feed on the other side, they not being able to withstand the force of its Current, which inevitably casts them down headlong above Six hundred foot." (Fr. Hennepin had a tendancy to exaggerate because the Falls are about 200 feet high, not 600.) In 1679, he and LaSalle set sail from the Upper Niagara River (just east of Niagara Falls) on board the ship, Le Griffon, constructed from materials that were transported through Lewiston as part of the portage which was used to haul supplies around the Falls. They set out to explore the Great Lakes and the Mississippi Valley. Hennepin traveled to such places as Minnesota and Missouri. He died in Rome, Italy, in 1705, at the age of 79.