Our Daily Sykes #12 – Palouse Falls

The rich farmland of the Palouse is covered with such deep silt loam that it may be a rare day when the Palouse River does not run at least mildly muddy.    The top of two Horace Sykes recordings of these falling waters may be extraordinarily rich with silt even for the state ranger who watches over Palouse Falls.   The other Sykes catches a rainbow, which is common in that corner of the state with the most sun and the spray generated by the lower falls.  Depending upon water levels, it is an about 180 foot drop.  Wet side Washingtonians may have memorized the 270 foot drop at Snoqualmie Falls.  Greater differences between these east-west cataracts are the volume of water that is suddenly and for a few second exposed and the yearly number of visitors.  The official Snoqualmie Falls website claims 1.5 million – believe it or not.  Jean (our Sherrard) was among the somewhat fewer visitor to the Palouse Falls in 2006.  We thought to include the plummeting Palouse in our book “Washington Then and Now” but the frugal publisher dropped a few pages and so for us stopped the river.  Now we expect that Jean will let it flow and post his nows to Sykes thens.  He has promised. The publisher did, however, keep Snoqualmie Falls in the book, most likely calculating the number of book buyers that were in its neighborhood.  [Click TWICE to Enlarge]

Untypically Horace Sykes has dated this muddy spectacle - May 15, 1950.
Untypically Horace Sykes has dated this muddy spectacle - May 15, 1950.
Here Sykes returned to form - he did not date this rainbow recording of Palouse Falls.
Here Sykes returned to form - he did not date this rainbow recording of Palouse Falls.

Jean responds:

Here, Paul, is the photo we never used. You’ll note the Falls on that day was mostly covered by shadow from the surrounding hills.  I believe we reckoned that it would emerge seasonally from the darkness.

Jean's wider view of Palouse Falls from 2006
Jean's wider view of Palouse Falls from 2006
This just dropped to my scanner from an envelope of negatives sent to me by Ardith Stark, daughter of the photographer Elmer Doty.  She explains that "He always did photography."  In part because he was also a professional and had gift stores that emphasized postcards and greeting cards.  Elmer Arthur Doty came out of the small town of Latah, which is south of Spokane and north of the Palouse River.  He would have felt at home here looking down at a Palouse Falls that looks pristine.  It is, perhaps, a time that is both dry and undisturbed in the fields of the Palouse.
This just dropped to my scanner from an envelope of negatives sent to me by Ardith Stark, daughter of the photographer Elmer Doty. She explains that "He always did photography." In part because he was also a professional and had gift stores that emphasized postcards and greeting cards. Elmer Arthur Doty came out of the small town of Latah, which is south of Spokane and north of the Palouse River. He would have felt at home here looking down at a Palouse Falls that looks pristine. It is, perhaps, a time that is both dry and undisturbed in the fields of the Palouse.

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