The construction of two enormous federal hydroelectric dams on the Columbia transformed the lower river and ushered in a new era in the gorge. The United States Army Corps of Engineers completed Bonneville Dam in 1938. The Dalles Dam came nineteen years later, in 1957. More dams followed -- some public, some private -- along the main stem of the Columbia all the way to the Canadian border and beyond. Of the river's 1,200 miles from source to mouth, only 57 river miles remain free-flowing today. (Durbin 18)
The Dalles Dam and John Day and McNary dams to the east, built between 1955 and 1968, drowned at least forty-five archaeological sites. (Durbin 19)
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4. History >