When we arrived in Idaho at this house, our neighbor was in the basement doing some electrical work--he's an electrician and the landlord had hired him to do some work. We got talking to him and asked when the house was built.
"Probably in 1976 like all the other places around here."
"Why?" I asked naturally curious.
"Because of the dam."
On June 5, 1976 the Teton dam broke. And it let 80 billion gallons of water rush down the canyon to the valley.
On Saturday we visited the Teton Flood Museum here in Rexburg. The whole family got to go for a grand total of $5--$2 for adults and $.50 for kids.
Pardon the photos of photos, but that's just how this is going to work.
The end of November, 1975 the dam was declared complete and they began to fill the reservoir. The water was going to be used for irrigation and hydroelectric power. It was a long time coming.
But the dam didn't even make it a year. It took three days from the time there were small leaks to the actual breaching of the dam.
These photos were taken within hours of eachother.
And it happened on a Saturday. During the day. It took about six hours for the entire reservoir to empty.
They say that the fact that it happened during the day is the reason why so few people died in the flood--a wall of rushing water that reached 7 miles wide in spots and ranged from 4 to 70 feet deep depending on how close to the canyon the wall was. It was 90 miles long and displaced approximately 100,000 people. Only 11 people were killed.
There is a 20 minute movie you can watch. It's phenomenal to watch, actually. There is footage of houses that had been knocked off their foundations floating down city streets while people stand on the hill and watch.
We went up to the site a couple weeks ago on our maiden voyage with our 5th wheel. It was raining/snowing, but still quite spectacular.
The rise in the middle is what is left of the dam. They excavated the other side looking for clues as to why the dam failed. Essentially they decided the canyon wall was what failed, not the dam itself. And no one person was to blame.
A worth-while afternoon that the little museum in a basement. And I'd go back again. They have a children's exibit that changes every month. Next month is reptiles. And for the price, it's a good way to spend an afternoon.
After four kids, ten moves and nearly two decades, we are still blissfully in love (most of the time) and I found myself back in the state I was born and raised in. It has definitely been a journey. In fact, on our 18th anniversary we pulled the last of our stuff up over the pass and into Montana, leaving our surprise love, Idaho, behind. But Montana is a great place. The last best place according to some. And we fully intend to explore as much of it as we can! Join us on our continued adventure through life, love and other stuff that comes with it.