Jackson Baldwin was 10 years old when he died of cancer in May of 2006. His winning personality and the tragic reality of his disease rallied his hometown of Lewiston, Idaho, to his support, and the result is a monument that bears his name.
The monument, known as Jackson Baldwin Falls, is next to the Red Lion Hotel at the entrance to Lewiston. It is dedicated to the memory of all children in the area who died before their 18th birthday. The names of 146 children have been inscribed so far on an aluminum wall that is 25 feet long and six feet high. The wall is perched near the edge of a bluff overlooking Locomotive Park, the Clearwater River and the hills leading north to the Palouse. A paved wheelchair-accessible path loops partway down the hillside to a view of the waterfalls that were constructed as part of the memorial. The location encourages lingering and contemplation.
Construction was completed and the waterfall started flowing in 2008. The total cost of the project was $300,000, according to Scott and Staci Baldwin, Jackson’s parents, who coordinated the community effort.
“At least 100 people volunteered on the site, helping with construction or landscaping,” Scott Baldwin said. “Over 800 tons of rock was donated. This community really made this happen.”
The City of Lewiston has agreed to underwrite some utility fees to keep the waterfall flowing, but the construction costs were all covered by private donations.
While the costs of building the monument have all been paid, the Baldwins are still accepting donations for maintenance and utilities. They are also accepting donations for a foundation they created in honor of their son, Jackson’s Pay It Forward Foundation (jacksonspayitforward.com), which assists local families that have children with life-threatening diseases.
The monument and pathway are open year-round, though water is shut off in the winter to prevent freezing.
The monument is directly west of the Barleyhopper’s pub entrance at the Red Lion Hotel. Parking is free at the huge hotel lot. The Red Lion is on the hillside above the intersection of 21st Street and East Main Street, just south of the Highway 12 bridge over the Clearwater River at the entrance to Lewiston from Idaho Highway 95. To visit the monument, after crossing the bridge, go up the hill on 21st Street and then turn left into the Red Lion parking lot. Go to the northwest corner of the lot and follow the paved path.
Bill London is a writer who lives in Moscow, Idaho.
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