In 1917, Asahel Curtis climbed down to this precipice that overlooked the untamed Columbia. A $40 million levy to build the Grand Coulee Dam had been rejected by voters in 1914, but dam supporters, led by William “Billy” Clapp, an Ephrata lawyer, refused to give up.
They commissioned a secret study to determine how high the dam would have to be to fill the coulee. The modern repeat gives a sense of the enormity of the project. Note the two boulders of indeterminate size in Curtis’ photo. A sizeable two-story house nestles between them today. —JS