Swan Falls Village, Snake River, Kuna, Ada County, ID
Photo Caption Pages
Snake River, Kuna vicinity, ID
Find maps of Kuna, ID
Documentation compiled after 1933.
Survey number HABS ID-105
Significance: Swan Falls Village is a functioning residential complex for the employees at Swan Falls Dam, the first hydroelectric power plant (built 1900-01) on the Snake River in Idaho. Because the plant was remote from towns, crew housing at the site was the only practical option. The village has evolved over time to accommodate changes in the demographic characteristics of the employees and their housing needs. Changes have been consistent with management efforts to run the plant at the lowest practical costs; they demonstrate a spirit of resourcefulness, adaptation, and innovation by village residents. The Village consists of the Club House (a boarding house), cottages, garages, sheds, a road, lawns and gardens, animal enclosures, a boat dock, children's play area, and systems providing domestic water, irrigation, and sewage collection and disposal. The earliest of the existing cottages was built in 1918, although the foundation of another cottage dates before 1910. In the first 30 years of the dam's operation, most of the crew were single men housed in a boarding house; only the supervisor and chief operator lived in cottages. When it became difficult to retain single men at the site, the company built cottages for employees and their families. When the number of families grew, so did the number of cottages. When the number of automobiles grew, so did the number of garages. When the number of children grew, one of the cottages was used as a school. Residents developed spaces such as orchards, gardens, pastures, play areas around the village to suit their needs and interests. The village reflects a utilitarian approach to design; the small, white, unembellished cottages represent an integrity of location, setting, feeling, and materials -- as well as what David R.M. White called "continuity of use."
Historic American Buildings Survey (Library of Congress)
1. VIEW OF SWAN FALLS DAM AND VILLAGE FROM NORTH CANYON RIM DOWNSTREAM OF DAM, FACING SOUTH.
2. VIEW OF SWAN FALLS DAM AND VILLAGE FROM NORTH CANYON RIM JUST DOWNSTREAM OF DAM, FACING SOUTH.
3. VIEW OF SWAN FALLS VILLAGE AND DAM FROM MAIN ACCESS ROAD JUST UPSTREAM OF VILLAGE, FACING WEST/NORTHWEST.
4. VIEW OF SWAN FALLS (OLD) VILLAGE, NEW VILLAGE HOUSING, AND DAM FROM NORTH CANYON RIM, FACING NORTHWEST.
5. VIEW OF VILLAGE SITE FROM NORTH CANYON RIM, FACING SOUTHWEST. MOUNTAIN AREA TO LEFT OF BUTTE IS WHERE SILVER CITY IS LOCATED, ABOUT 30 MILES AWAY.
6. UPSTREAM HALF OF PANORAMA (WITH PHOTO #7) FROM HILLSIDE ABOVE VILLAGE, FACING SOUTH. FROM LEFT TO RIGHT, ROOFS ARE OF: COTTAGE 181, COTTAGE 191, GARAGE 393, CLUB HOUSE.
7. DOWNSTREAM HALF OF PANORAMA (WITH PHOTO #6) FROM HILLSIDE ABOVE VILLAGE, FACING WEST. FROM LEFT TO RIGHT, ROOFS ARE OF: COTTAGE 231, COTTAGE 101, GARAGE 281, GARAGE 531, COTTAGE 521.
8. VIEW OF SWAN FALLS DAM AND VILLAGE FROM LEFT BANK (SOUTH) OF SNAKE RIVER, FACING EAST. VISIBLE VILLAGE STRUCTURES FROM LEFT TO RIGHT ON HILLSIDE ARE: COTTAGE 521, GARAGE 531, COTTAGE 101; VISIBLE AT RIVER LEVEL ARE: COTTAGE 361, COTTAGE 362, COTTAGE 363, BOAT HOUSE 394, CLUB HOUSE 011, GARAGE 393, COTTAGE 191, COTTAGE 181, GARAGE 532.
9. VIEW OF VILLAGE FROM LEFT BANK (SOUTH) OF SNAKE RIVER, FACING NORTHEAST. FOREGROUND SHOWS TYPICAL ROCK FORMATIONS. COTTAGE 281, NOT VISIBLE IN PHOTO #8, IS VISIBLE.
10. VIEW OF VILLAGE FROM SOUTH SIDE OF SNAKE RIVER, FACING NORTH. ROAD IN FOREGROUND IS OLD SOUTH SIDE ACCESS ROAD.
11. VIEW OF DOMESTIC WELL 172, PARTIAL OF GARAGE 532, COTTAGE 191, GARAGE 393, AND COTTAGE 231 FROM UPSTREAM FACING NORTHWEST.
12. COTTAGES 181 AND 191 FROM VILLAGE ROAD, FACING NORTH.
13. VIEW OF CLUB HOUSE AND COTTAGE 231 FROM ROOF OF GARAGE 393, FACING NORTHWEST.
14. VIEW OF COTTAGES 363, 362, AND 361 FROM YARD OF COTTAGE 231, FACING WEST.
15. VIEW OF COTTAGES 361, 362, AND 361, FROM PICNIC PARK AT NORTH END OF VILLAGE, FACING SOUTH. ROOF AT UPPER LEFT IS COTTAGE 101, HOSE HOUSE 106. DOWNSTREAM SIDE OF COTTAGE 231 IS VISIBLE IN CENTER OF PHOTOGRAPH.
16. VIEW FROM HILLSIDE BEHIND VILLAGE, FACING WEST. VISIBLE FROM LEFT TO RIGHT ARE GARAGE 281, COTTAGE 101, WATER TANK 053, COTTAGE 231, AND CLUB HOUSE 011.
17. ROCK WORK FROM UPSTREAM SIDE OF COTTAGE 231, FACING NORTH. DORMER OF COTTAGE 101 VISIBLE AT UPPER RIGHT. HOSE HOUSE 106 VISIBLE IN CENTER.
18. VIEW OF COTTAGE 101 WITH GARAGES 531 AND 281, FACING SOUTH.
19. VIEW OF COTTAGE 521, GARAGE 531, GARAGE 281, FACING SOUTH.
20. VIEW OF RESIDENTIAL BUILDINGS TAKEN IN 1911 LOOKING NORTHEAST PROBABLY FROM SWAN FALLS DAM. FROM LEFT TO RIGHT, RESIDENTIAL BUILDINGS ARE COTTAGE 101, THE COTTAGE THAT BURNED IN 1921 (AND WAS REPLACED WITH COTTAGE 231), AND THE CLUB HOUSE. OTHER BUILDINGS IN FOREGROUND ARE STOREHOUSES AND SHOPS.
21. VIEW OF COTTAGE 101 AND THE SWAN FALLS POWER PLANT AND DAM TAKEN AROUND 1920, LOOKING SOUTHWEST. BUILDING AT LOWER LEFT IS COTTAGE THAT LATER BURNED.
22. VIEW OF COTTAGE 101 TAKEN AROUND 1945 SHOWING TREE COVER AND OTHER PLANTINGS. WRAPAROUND PORCH WAS STILL PART OF THE HOUSE. CAMERA IS ON HILL, FACING WEST.
23. VIEW TAKEN OF VILLAGE, DAM, AND POWER HOUSE AROUND 1945. CAMERA IS PROBABLY ON ROAD LEADING INTO VILLAGE AND FACES SOUTHWEST. CLUB HOUSE IS AT LOWER LEFT, WITH COTTAGES 361, 362, AND 363 TO THE RIGHT OF IT ON THE SAME SIDE OF THE ROAD. COTTAGE 231 SHOWS WASHING ON THE CLOTHESLINE. COTTAGE 101 AT LOWER RIGHT.
24. VIEW OF CANYON TAKEN FROM NORTH CANYON RIM AROUND 1920. CAMERA FACES SOUTH. VILLAGE IS TREE-COVERED AREA TO LEFT OF DAM AND POWERHOUSE. SUPERINTENDENT SAM GLASS'S ORCHARD IS DOWNSTREAM OF DAM ABOUT A QUARTER OF A MILE.
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