News / USA

Remote US Museum Survives in Hells Canyon

Grace Jordan’s kitchen has been spiffed up a bit from the Depression days when it was heavily used by her family and its ranch hands. (Carol M. Highsmith)
Grace Jordan’s kitchen has been spiffed up a bit from the Depression days when it was heavily used by her family and its ranch hands. (Carol M. Highsmith)
Ted Landphair
The rushing Snake River cut America’s deepest gorge through Idaho in the Rocky Mountains of the American Northwest.

Today, it’s known as Hells Canyon.

Every few kilometers along the way, the river widened and scoured out sandbars.  There, protected from biting winds and howling snowstorms high above, Nez Percé Indians fashioned winter villages and buried their dead. Later, around 1880, ranchers took their place.

And in the 1930s, at the height of the Great Depression, ranch foreman Len Jordan and his wife, Grace, bought a ranch there that included a white-frame house, a blacksmith shop, and a rustic cabin.
Only in America-Hells Canyon Ranch
Only in America-Hells Canyon Ranchi
|| 0:00:00
...
 
🔇
X

And because Grace kept a journal that grew into the book Home Below Hell’s Canyon, and Len would become Idaho’s governor, the story of their rough-hewn existence on the remote sandbar would spread throughout the Great Northwest.
This old blacksmith shop is part of the rustic museum complex in hard-to-reach Hells Canyon, Idaho. (Carol M. Highsmith)This old blacksmith shop is part of the rustic museum complex in hard-to-reach Hells Canyon, Idaho. (Carol M. Highsmith)
x
This old blacksmith shop is part of the rustic museum complex in hard-to-reach Hells Canyon, Idaho. (Carol M. Highsmith)
This old blacksmith shop is part of the rustic museum complex in hard-to-reach Hells Canyon, Idaho. (Carol M. Highsmith)

The only electricity came from a clever water wheel in Kirkwood Creek that Len had jerry-rigged out of cowbells, bolted to a wheel from an old Model-T Ford.

Grace cooked on a simple wood stove for her husband and three children, and dozens of smelly sheephands.

The Jordans sold the ranch in 1943, and it passed through several owners.  

In the 1970s, the U.S. Forest Service rejected proposals to dam the Snake River to provide hydroelectric power and irrigation to nearby towns. 

Instead, it established the Hells Canyon National Recreation Area, restoring the Jordans’ ranch buildings as a museum and creating a spot where rafters could stop and picnic.

But there are only two ways to reach it, even today: by raft down the Snake, or on foot or horseback along a narrow, precipitous trail.  

Those who go there are reminded that there’ll be no cellphone service or Internet connection. Now that, in this day and age, is a hardship.

You May Like

At Khmer Rouge Court, Long-Awaited Verdict Approaches

First phase of trial, which is coming to an end, has focused on forced exodus of Phnom Penh in 1975 - and now many are hopeful justice will be served More

Video When Fighting Eases, Gazans Line Up at Bakeries

When there is a lull in the conflict, residents who have been hunkered down in their apartments rush out to stock up on food and other necessities More

Video Information War Rages Alongside Real One in Ukraine

Downing of Malaysian airliner, allegations of cross-border shelling move information war in war-torn country to a new level More

This forum has been closed.
Comment Sorting
Comments
     
by: Renata from: Poland
October 29, 2012 8:35 AM
my dream is to visit once such places..... awesome!

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Information War Rages Alongside Real One in Ukrainei
X
Al Pessin
July 31, 2014 8:13 PM
The downing of the Malaysian airliner two weeks ago, and allegations that Russians are shelling Ukrainian troops across the border, have moved the information war swirling around the Ukrainian conflict to a new level. VOA's Al Pessin reports from Kyiv.
Video

Video Information War Rages Alongside Real One in Ukraine

The downing of the Malaysian airliner two weeks ago, and allegations that Russians are shelling Ukrainian troops across the border, have moved the information war swirling around the Ukrainian conflict to a new level. VOA's Al Pessin reports from Kyiv.
Video

Video When Fighting Eases, Gazans Line Up at Bakeries

When there is a lull in the conflict in Gaza, residents who have been hunkered down in their apartments rush out to stock up on food and other necessities. Probably the most important destination is the local bakery. VOA’s Scott Bobb reports from Gaza City.
Video

Video US-Funded Program Offers Honduran Children Alternative to Illegal Immigration

President Obama and Central American leaders recently agreed to come up with a plan to address poverty and crime in the region that is fueling the surge of young migrants trying to illegally enter the United States. VOA’s Brian Padden looks at one such program in Honduras - funded in part by the United States - which gives street kids not only food and safety but a chance for a better life without, crossing the border.
Video

Video 'Fab Lab' Igniting Revolution in Kenya

The University of Nairobi’s Science and Technology Park is banking on 3-D prototyping to spark a manufacturing revolution in the country. Lenny Ruvaga has more for from Nairobi's so-called “FabLab” for VOA.
Video

Video Gazans in Shelled School Sought Shelter

Israel's air and ground assault against Hamas-led fighters in Gaza has forced many Palestinians to flee their homes, seeking safety. But safe places are hard to find, as VOA’s Scott Bobb reports from Jabaliya.
Video

Video Rapid Spread of Ebola in West Africa Prompts Global Alert

Across West Africa, health officials are struggling to keep up with what the World Health Organization describes as the worst ebola outbreak on record. The virus has killed hundreds of people this year. U.S. President Barack Obama and other world leaders are watching the developments closely as they weigh what actions, if any, are needed to help contain the disease.
Video

Video Michelle Obama: Young Africans Need to Embrace Women's Rights

U.S. first lady Michelle Obama urged some of Africa's best and brightest to advocate for women's rights in their home countries. As VOA's Pam Dockins explains, Obama spoke to some 500 participants of the Young African Leaders Initiative, a six-week U.S.-based training and development program.
Video

Video Immigrant Influx on Texas Border Heats Up Political Debate

Immigrants from Central America continue to cross the U.S.-Mexico border in south Texas, seeking asylum in the United States, as officials grapple with ways to deal with the problem and provide shelter for thousands of minors among the illegal border crossers. As VOA's Greg Flakus reports from Houston, the issue is complicated by internal U.S. politics and U.S. relations with the troubled nations that immigrants are fleeing.
Video

Video Study: Latino Students Most Segregated in California

Even though legal school segregation ended in the United States 60 years ago, one study finds segregation still occurs in the U.S. based on income and race. The University of California Los Angeles Civil Rights Project finds that students in California are more segregated by race than ever before, especially Latinos. Elizabeth Lee reports for VOA from Los Angeles.

AppleAndroid