Wednesday, May 9, 2012

May 1, 2012. The Other Falls In Twin Falls.

After visiting Shoshone Falls
in Twin Falls, Idaho,
the Hawthornes headed to the other twin -
the hydroelectric project.

As in Shoshone Falls,
there's a nice green area.

The Twin Falls Hydroelectric Project
is owned and operated by Idaho Power
and located on the Snake River.

The project area provides recreational opportunities
for wildlife watching, picnicking, fishing, boating,
hiking, hunting, and sightseeing.

"Idaho Power has made efforts to protect and enhance
water quality, fish, wildlife, botanical, historical, archaeological,
and aesthetic resources associated with this project."

 Carved by a Flood
Lake Bonneville, the bigger ancestor of Salt Lake,
flooded this area about 15,000 years ago.
Twin Falls, so named because of the pair
of cataracts that once poured over these rocks,
was formed by that flood.

1935 Construction
In 1935, Idaho Power began construction on the original dams and power plant.  Because there was no road into the building site, crews used a "skip" to haul equipment and supplies into and out of the canyon.  The skip was an electrically powered deck that traveled up and down a well-greased, 260-foot-long wooden ramp.

1995 Construction
The new power plant is on the floor of the Snake river below Twin Falls.  The generator rotor was lowered into the new power plant.  When the water turns the plant's turbine, it also turns this rotor which provides the magnetic field, creating electricity.

The Twin Falls County 
Historic Preservation Commission
left a bunch of signs out here
which I will type out for your edification.

Snake River Canyon Gold Rush
Gold was discovered in 1869 below the Shoshone Falls.  During the summer of 1879, hundreds of prospectors entered the canyon searching the rocky slopes and sand bars for the very fine particles of gold called "flour gold."  Three mining camps - Shoshone, Springtown, and Drytown, were established on the south riverbank between the present-day Murtaugh Bridge and the Shoshone Falls, providing miners with supplies, dry goods, and mining equipment.  In 1871, when the gold yields began to diminish, the miners sold their claims to the Chinese who worked the mines until abandoning them in the early 1880s.  The mining camps, though temporary, paved the way for the development of the modern agricultural communities.

Before there were potatoes,
there was GOLD.

During the 1860s and 1870s,
this area was home to hundreds of miners
who came seeking their fortunes in gold.
Towns and mining camps with hotels and other businesses
sprung up to accommodate them.

 Miners removed the precious metal from placer bars,
or gravel deposits, using pressurized water from a hose,
like a firefighter uses.
These huge hoses were called giants.

The gravel and gold were separated in sluice boxes.  
The gold here was difficult to extract
but it was worth the effort 
because of its high quality.

In the late 1860s, most of the miners
in Idaho were Chinese
and Idaho had more Asian miners
 than any state or territory.
They were usually forced to work
less profitable claims 
than their Caucasian counterparts.

There is no major mining activity in this area today.

The arch dam is 789 feet long.
It was built in 1935 along with the non-overflow dam and powerhouse.

Twin Falls Reservoir, above the dam,
is a great place to boat, swim, fish, picnic,
and enjoy the beautiful canyon.

And ...
the Hawthornes are off to somewhere else.

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