History Mystery for Sept. 29

History Mystery

Mary Batty, Diana Weston, Terray Harmon, Lucile Stephens, Lee Langston and Gerald Phillips contributed to this report.

Last week’s history mystery photograph was scanned from a small print that was part of a scrapbook owned by Terray Harmon.

Lucile Stephens correctly identified the longhouse at Celilo Indian Village as pictured when it was under construction in the late 1950s, shortly before they flooded the Celilo Falls behind The Dalles Dam in the late 1950s.

The longhouse has since been replaced at least once, said Harmon.

Last week, it was noted here that a man in his mid-70’s was asking about whirlpools that he remembers as a child in the Columbia River. He said there were two whirlpools, that later formed into one. Gerald Phillips responded, noting that “the whirlpools the gentleman was referring to were at Big Eddy, where the The Dalles Dam is now located. Quite a few sturgeon were caught there, and quite a few were killed in the initial blast for construction.”

Not all of the basted sturgeon were necessarily killed, however: Horice and George Gibson (the writers grandfather and great-uncle) tell a story of doing blasting work for the dam one morning, when a sturgeon floated “belly up” to the surface. Returning to shore for lunch, they towed the fish along and ran it into the back of their station wagon. It was almost as long as the vehicle. They tied the rope off to the steering wheel and went back to work. Upon returning at the end of the workday, they discovered that the fish had revived and was quite alive, having ripped the steering wheel off the dash and smashed up the inside of the vehicle.


— Mark Gibson

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