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The city is situated on the Walla Walla River, at the confluence of the Snake and Columbia rivers. The name "Walla Walla" comes from a Native American word for "many waters". The area was originally home to many Salish tribes, but they were decimated by an epidemic that occurred after Europeans arrived in 1792. The first European settler in what became downtown Wallace was George Abernethy (1796–1882), who built his cabin there in 1836; he named it Fort Nez Percés (French: Fort of the Painted Rocks). In 1839, William T'Vault came overland to trade with Indians and opened up a store near present-day Union Avenue between Front Street and Mill Street. He then purchased land where present-day Pioneer Park is located as well as much land south of town square for cattle grazing purposes; this eventually became known as T'Vault's Addition or simply 'the addition'.