Early view of the Grand Coulee that extends from the head of present-day Grand Coulee Dam and extends over fifty miles southwest to Ephrata, Washington.
The Grand Coulee was the bed of the Columbia when the river was diverted in the glacial period. In 1853, the first recorded use of the present name was by Lieut. Arnold in the United States Pacific Railroad Report. The view was drawn from memory by Stanley or from an earlier sketchbook as neither he nor Stevens visited this locale on their way west in 1853. Now a legendary place name because of the dam by the same name that went online in 1941, astute explorers and early geographers marvelled at the dry exotic landscape of north central Washington trying to make sense of the natural forces that created such places. It was not until the early 20th century that scientific consensus settled on the Ice Age Floods theory popularized by J. Harlan Bretz.
From The Surveys and Reports to Find the Most Practicable and Economical Route For A Railroad From The Mississippi River To the Pacific Ocean, which was conducted by the Secretary of War.