On June, 13, 1805 Captain Meriwether Lewis confirmed the existence of what had been just a legend to many - the Great Falls of the Missouri River. Earlier that day, Lewis, who as suspected the falls were in the area based on what the Minnetaree Indians had told him the previous winter, heard the "agreeable sound of a fall of water" and saw "the spray (arise) above the plain like a column of smoke." Finding a vantage spot overlooking the falls, he spent hours in a frustrating attempt to render a sketch that ultimately couldn't capture the essence of the "grandest sight I ever beheld."
Others followed Lewis and Clark. The Great Falls soon became a magnet for explorers and sightseers. In 1879, Ed Kelly was the first to hire guides and carry visitors in wagons to the falls. Visitors were awestruck by the natural wonder and descriptions of the falls in historical accounts are legion. Among those was Road-builder John Mullan's simple statement that the Great Falls "constituted a picture worthy (of) the pencil of the artist and the toil of the tourist." Since 1890, development of hydroelectric dams on the falls have significantly changed the appearance of Lewis's "majestically grand scenery."
The Great Falls of the Missouri is located about five miles east of here.