Idaho’s Teton Dam Collapsed 42 Years Ago This Week
In 1973 I was a News reporter/Sports Director for KIFI Channel 8 in Idaho Falls and was invited to tour the nearly completed Teton Dam with Idaho Governor Cecil Andrus and other dignitaries.
We headed into the belly of the dam after being assured this earthen monster was a work of art and a structure designed to hold back the flow of the Teton River to the benefit of area farmers and fisherman.
I recall the musty smell of moisture the deeper we went but never was there any concern or hint that in three years the Teton Dam would collapse. The Dam opened in November 1975 and failed eight months later.
This week on June 5th 1976 the Teton Dam disintegrated causing the death of humans and livestock and the destruction of homes and property in the millions.
That was 42 years ago. In 1976 I was anchoring sports in Omaha, Nebraska when the alarm bells went off on the Associated Press ticker.
The assignment editor yelled out, some dam in Idaho busted, the Teton Dam or something!
I was 2,000 miles away as the dam collapsed but the disaster hit home.
From time to time I look up at Lucky Peak Dam, another earthen creation providing liquid life for Boise and beyond and think....that could never happen here, could it?