Town of Pendleton
After decades as a milling center and stone quarry, the area around the falls was, by 1918, an eyesore. Pendleton hardware store owner and town board member B.F. Phipps felt the area should be more than the town dump. His vision: Clean it up and create a park. Fellow board members D.J. Williams, D.B. Cole and George Kinnard agreed and approved a tax levy to fund park development.
Fall Creek Cannery donated some of the land in 1919; the town board purchased other property for $5,500. The creek was cleared of rubbish, the banks smoothed and made suitable for lounging in the sun, the stone quarry cleaned, a dam built to form a swimming pool below the falls, and Falls Park opened in 1920.
The new Falls Park drew tourists from miles around. Said the Pendleton Times in 1922: The "desolate ragged spot" had been transformed into "one of the grandest spots in all of God's great out-of-doors" and "No finer beach can be found anywhere than right here in Pendleton, with its sandy bottom and sandy shores."
Through the years, the park's success and residents' support have provided improvements, maintenance and restoration: a lighthouse in the center of the lake; a cast-iron fountain by J.W. Fisks & Company; rock planters built by Works Projects Administration;
shelters, playground equipment; and additional land. Today, Falls Park totals more than 150 acres, with nature trails, sports facilities, a historical museum, and more.