Then the glacier moved, it was so strong
It carried huge boulders as it inched along,
Depositing river sentinels here and there
And islands of rock, stark and bare.
This erosion of land caused canyons deep
And bluffs inaccessible-columned and steep.
Then the ice melted and water ran
Leaving sand, rocks, gravel, an alluvial fan.
When the water channeled with a raging roar
It created a river of rapids galore.
With boulder dotted islands away from shore,
Tall river sentinels on water evermore.
It was said to be just the second time in the Columbia River’s history that the river’s mighty waters ceased to flow.
But unlike 1872 when a huge cliff gave way during an earthquake, stopping the river near Entiat, the closing of Rock Island Dam’s east-channel spillways was a bit more planned.
It also was witnessed by far more people.
Newspaper accounts of the Feb. 10, 1932, event paint a bizarre picture of more than 1,000 people lining the river bank, waiting for the water to stop flowing, and hundreds more eager to check out the momentarily dry riverbed downstream.
When the flow stopped, federal officials and engineers wearing hip boots and wading through falling water levels checked the dam’s tailrace. They were joined by those searching for other items.