Thursday, October 6, 2016

If this is Thursday it must be postcards, 267

 Shoshone Falls, Idaho

We stopped by Shoshone Falls in August and took a few photos as well as picking up this new postcard distributed by Mountain West Prints, Great Mountain West Supply, Salt Lake City, Utah.  Postcard photo credits go to Don Green Photography & James Blank. 

As can be seen from these photos there was not as much water over the falls as in the postcard picture but nevertheless a spectacular sight.

The power house can be seen at the left of the falls

Snake River just below the falls

Often referred to as the Niagara of the West these falls are located on the Snake River in southern Idaho near the city of Twin Falls.  Dropping 212 ft or 65 m, they are 45 ft or 14 m higher than Niagara Falls.  The river water is used for both irrigation and hydroelectric power resulting in unequal flow levels at different times of the year.  Maximum water flows over a nearly 1,000 ft (300 m) rim in the early spring when torrents of water pour over the entire rim not just the sections shown.  When we visited this time and one other previous time the water levels were slightly lower than shown on the card but still amazing and beautiful. 

Fish are unable to go further upstream due to the great height of the falls and instead are found in great numbers at the base of the falls.  In times past these fish served as a major food source for local Native Americans.  The Shoshone Falls are named for the Lemhi Shoshone (Agaidika or Salmon eaters) who fished with willow spears tipped with elk horn.  The area was a central food source and trading center for these people. 

Trivia:  Shoshone Falls was a tourist attraction as early as the mid-19th century and travelers on the Oregon Trail often stopped to visit the falls.  Gold was discovered in the Snake River Canyon in 1869 and by 1872 about 3,000 miners had come in search of riches.   Attempts were made by first in 1876-1883 to make the falls a tourist destination.  The Oregon Short Line Railroad was extended to Shoshone, Idaho in 1883.  Charles Walgamott, a homesteader, had fenced off large tracts surrounding the falls and built a lodge.  He later sold out to a group, who intended to replace the lodge with a larger hotel and a steamship on the river.  Walgamott was granted a license to operate a cable ferry across the Snake River but this proved to be too dangerous and resulted in the deaths of four people who were swept over the falls.  In 1919 a suspension bridge was built across the narrower part about 6 miles upstream. 

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