Timeline of the Elwha Through 1940

25,000-10,000 years ago: The Fraser glaciation occurs and upon receding, the Elwha watershed is created.

Until late 1800's:
The Klallam and other tribes inhabit a great deal of the northern Olympic coast and the mouth of the Elwha River, fishing, hunting, clamming and harvesting the lands.

Late 1800's:
Port Angeles begins to grow as European-American homesteaders arrive and settle the peninsula.

1910: With financial backing of the Olympic Power Company created by Thomas Aldwell and investors, construction of Elwha Dam begins.

1912: First gravity dam blows as the reservoir fills. Thomas Aldwell receives more funding to rebuild dam.

1913: Elwha Dam becomes operational. Despite an 1890 state law requiring "fish passage wherever food fish are wont to ascend," the dam operates without providing for fish passage.

1915: When Washington State Fish Commissioner Leslie Darwin offers to waive the fish passage requirement, Aldwell constructs a hatchery adjoining the Elwha Dam. It was abandoned by the state in 1922.

1925: Construction on Glines Canyon dam begins at river mile 13.

1927: Glines Canyon Dam becomes operational. No method of fish passage is provided.

U.S. Representative Monrad C. Wallgren sponsors a bill for the establishment of a national park on the Olympic Peninsula.

President Franklin D. Roosevelt's visit to the area in the fall seals the effort for those pushing for establishment of Olympic National Park.

1938: Congress passes Rep. Wallgren's bill, and with the President's signature, 634,000 acres is designated as Olympic National Park on June 29, 1938.

Elwha 1940 – 1992
Elwha 1992 – 2010


Last updated: February 28, 2015

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