The John A. Finch Arboretum is located in southwest Spokane, Washington on 65 acres of wooded hills. In 1907, the Spokane Board of Park Commissioners marked off a mile-long strip along Garden Springs Creek for a future garden space. In 1912, with the help of John A. Finch, a wealthy mining investor, the rest of the land for the arboretum was purchased. In the 1940s, John Duncan, the Park Superintendent, designed the planting plans and planting the 23 species in the arboretum began in earnest in 1949. Today the collection of trees and shrubs includes natives of the inland northwest and plants from many parts of the world. They were selected as educationally useful, scientifically important, and aesthetically attractive.
The word arboretum entered into English in 1833 with the meaning of “tree-garden, place where trees or shrubs are cultivated.” It is from the Latin arboretum meaning “a place grown with trees.” Arboretum is formed from arbor meaning “tree” with the suffix -ettum which is used form the names of gardens and woods.