The Elwha Dam is no more, the Glines Canyon Dam is more than 50 percent demolished, Lake Aldwell and Lake Mills are dry and the Elwha River flows into the Strait of Juan de Fuca once again. Now is a great time to look back at the fascinating history of the Elwha River and the effect it has had on the land and people of the Olympic Peninsula. The North Olympic Library System has lots of resources to help you do just that.
Some highlights in the book collection include “Finding the River: an Environmental History of the Elwha,” by Jeff Crane, “Away Out Over Everything: the Olympic Peninsula and the Elwha River Photographs,” by Mary Peck, with an essay by Charles Wilkinson, and “Elwha: A River Reborn,” by Linda Mapes.
The library also owns several documentaries on DVD about the Elwha and its history. These include “Unconquering the Last Frontier,” “Undamming the Elwha” and “River as Spirit: Rebirth of the Elwha.” You can find these titles and more in the NOLS catalog, online at www.nols.org.
Recently, thanks to a grant from the Washington Rural Heritage Project, NOLS has been able to make one particular resource much more accessible. In 2012, staff at NOLS began to digitize the Kellogg Photo Collection. More than 40 years ago, Bert Kellogg donated a collection of over 5,000 photos and negatives to NOLS.
Among these were 176 photographs of the Elwha River and the surrounding area. The photographs document life on the banks of the Elwha in the early 20th century as well as the construction of the dams.
As of August 2013, more than 1,000 of the Kellogg photos, including all the Elwha photos, are available to be viewed online.
The collection can be viewed at the Washington Rural Heritage website, www.washingtonruralheritage.org. Choose “North Olympic Heritage” from the Collection drop-down menu.
You can type “Elwha” in the search bar to look specifically at the photos relating to the river. Other fascinating historical photos in the collection chronicle late 18th-century and early 20th-century life on the Olympic Peninsula.
The library has received an additional grant that will allow the digitization project to continue, so that even more of the collection will be accessible online.
And soon there will be a link to the collection on the NOLS website (www.nols.org) as well.