< Browse to Previous Essay | Browse to Next Essay >
Original Keller Ferry site floods as the Columbia River rises behind the newly constructed Grand Coulee Dam in the winter of 1939/1940.
HistoryLink.org Essay 7227
: Printer-Friendly Format
In the winter of 1939/1940, the original site of the Keller Ferry crossing at the confluence of the Columbia and Sanpoil rivers is flooded by the increasing water level of Lake Roosevelt, the reservoir formed by the Columbia rising behind Grand Coulee Dam.
The waters of Lake Roosevelt began rising in January 1939. River current first slowed and then ceased altogether, necessitating a switch from a cable ferry to a motor-powered ferry. In July a diesel powered side-wheeler, the L. A. McLeod, went into service. This was a shallow-draft ferry that operated over shallow waters during the two years that the Grand Coulee Dam reservoir (Lake Roosevelt) was being filled. "Being a river-type boat," The Wilbur Register reported, "the McLeod was very slow on lake waters and her car and heavy load capacity were inadequate for the public demands" (August 17, 1961).
By March 1940, the rising water level of the lake forced the ferry crew and their families to move to higher ground, from the 1,028-foot level to new quarters at the 1,310-foot mark. The small settlement of ferry employees and their families became known informally as Keller Ferry Village.
The town of Keller moved to a site eight miles away, but was unable to recover from the economic consequences of the change in location. The creation of Lake Roosevelt ended the salmon, trout, and steelhead runs that had long been a fixture of life for the Colville Indians and, after Keller’s founding in 1898, for residents of the town.
In May 1944, the McLeod was replaced by a diesel-powered tug named Ann of Wilbur. The tug towed a 10-car scow called San Poil of Seattle.
“Keller Remembers The ‘Good Old Days,’ ” The Wilbur Register, October 2, 1958; “ ‘Martha S.’ Has Ancestors Dating Back to the Late 1800s,” Ibid., August 17, 1961.
Travel through time (chronological order):
< Browse to Previous Essay
Browse to Next Essay >
Roads & Rails |
Washington Rivers |
Licensing: This essay is licensed under a Creative Commons license that
encourages reproduction with attribution. Credit should be given to both
HistoryLink.org and to the author, and sources must be included with any
reproduction. Click the icon for more info. Please note that this
Creative Commons license applies to text only, and not to images. For
more information regarding individual photos or images, please contact
the source noted in the image credit.
Major Support for HistoryLink.org Provided
By: The State of Washington | Patsy Bullitt Collins
| Paul G. Allen Family Foundation | Museum Of History & Industry
| 4Culture (King County Lodging Tax Revenue) | City of Seattle
| City of Bellevue | City of Tacoma | King County | The Peach
Foundation | Microsoft Corporation, Other Public and Private
Sponsors and Visitors Like You