Enjoy The Beauty of Waterfalls In Great Falls
When Great Falls Weather Threatens Water Damage, SERVPRO Is Ready To Help
Great Falls is the County Seat of Cascade County, Montana. This city of 58,434 people is located near some breathtaking Montana scenery, including the series of waterfalls from which it takes its name.
Great Falls is also known as The Electric City due to the presence of a hydroelectric dam on each of the five waterfalls that make up the Great Falls.
Paris Gibson visited the area in 1883 and immediately saw the potential for a bustling and industrial city, thanks to the falls' presence, which he knew engineers could harness using hydroelectric dams. He returned with a friend later that year to plan a settlement. Great Falls started out tiny, with just a handful of houses, a flour mill, and one store. However, by 1885 the town had expanded to include a post office, bank, school, lumber yard, and a newspaper, the Great Falls Tribune (known back then as Sun River Sun.)
Great Falls boomed, quickly becoming prosperous, thanks in part to investment from smelting operations, railroads, and of course, hydroelectric companies. Great Falls even boasted the world's tallest chimney for a while, thanks to the B & M smelter stack, which in 1908 measured 154 m tall.
The Majesty of the Great Falls Area
The Great Falls for which the city is named was discovered by expedition leaders William Clark and Meriwether Lewis in 1804. The then-president, Thomas Jefferson, wanted to send an expedition to explore the area as part of the Louisiana Purchase. He tasked Lewis and Clark with mapping out the Missouri River's course and studying the area's geology, terrain, flora, and fauna. He also asked them to establish if there was a river route to the Pacific Ocean.
Their first sight of the falls had a powerful effect on Lewis, who wrote in his journal that the falls were "the grandest sight I ever beheld," adding that "I saw the spray arise above the plain like a column of smoke."
The name Great Falls refers to five individual waterfalls on the Missouri River:
- Great Falls itself is the waterfall first seen by Captain Meriwether, who described its impressively loud roaring as "too tremendous to be mistaken for any cause short of the great falls of the Missouri." Thanks to the addition of the Ryan Dam, the falls are an impressive 45 meters tall.
- Rainbow Falls cascades, straight and impressive, beside the Rainbow Dam, which was added in 1901.
- Black Eagle Falls is the closest waterfall to the city itself, located about 4 KM above Rainbow Falls. Black Eagle was the first waterfall to be dammed by the Black Eagle Dam in 1890. Today, visitors can appreciate the dramatic vistas and raw power of the thundering water.
- Colter Falls is the smallest falls in the group, located behind the Rainbow Dam. The falls are now submerged.
- Crooked Falls cascades over an irregularly-shaped shelf and is the least accessible of the falls. It cannot be reached by vehicle, and there is no dam in place here. If you make the hike up to see Crooked Falls, you will see it just as Lewis and Clark did, untouched by humankind.
Great Falls offers ample opportunity to enjoy the magnificent views around the falls while also taking in everything the city has to offer.
The River's Edge urban trail offers an ideal starting point to explore the area. The trail links together recreational sites, attractions, shopping, and more all along the riverfront in downtown Great Falls. This is a fully paved urban trail accessible to wheelchair users and pushchairs and is very family-friendly. There is ample parking along the route, which is also dotted with multiple benches, restrooms, sheltered picnic areas, and drinking fountains.
There is so much to see and do along the route that you might need to walk it more than once to take it all in! Some must-see stops include:
- The West Bank Park portion of the trail, which is ideal for bird-spotters.
- Black Eagle Memorial Island with its historic truss bridge and breathtaking views of Black Eagle Falls.
- Warden Park Gazebo telescope offers stunning close-up views of the city and its surroundings.
When you are done with the River's Edge trail, be sure to stop by the Ryan Island Park picnic area. The picnic area is close to the Ryan Dam, offering fantastic views of the Great Falls. You can access the park via a suspension bridge that offers unbeatable views. From Mother's Day through Labor Day, visitors can take advantage of the Ryan Dam clubhouse, including cooking and refrigeration facilities.
Flooding Season Can Bring Water Damage In Great Falls
Great Falls has a cold semi-arid climate. Winters are long, and it often snows, while summers bring frequent thunderstorms. The biggest flooding season in Great Falls is mid-late spring when the snow melts and causes runoffs. However, the climate means that flooding is a year-round risk for residents.
SERVPRO Helps Residents Deal With Water Damage
Some homes in Great Falls have extra water damage risk factors:
- Being on a flood plain.
- Old or rotted door and window frames that can let in water.
- Sloped gardens or broken downpipes that encourage water to run toward the property instead of away from it.
- Poorly insulated pipes that are at risk of freezing and cracking in winter.
Our best advice to residents is to avoid water damage wherever possible. Be aware of flood risks and set up weather alerts on your phone, so you know in advance that a flood or storm is coming. It is also a good idea to waterproof your home as much as you can. Ensure door and window frames are sound, repair any damage to the roof, and make sure gutters and downpipes are clean and working correctly.
In the event of water damage, call SERVPRO as soon as you can. We're Faster To Any Size Disaster, and our dedicated team will arrive within four hours of your initial call. We can help with every aspect of water damage remediation, including pumping out water, drying your home, cleaning and drying your belongings, disinfecting if needed, and deodorizing your home to get rid of musty smells.
For help with water damage, call SERVPRO of Helena & Great Falls at (406) 458-6008.