As you look down at the Pend Oreille (Pond O'Ray) River and Albeni Falls Dam (Albany) you may be looking for the falls. In 1887 a 26 year-old French Canadian farmer living in Blanchard, Idaho, also wondered where the falls were. Hoping to discover the falls, Albeni Poirier traveled north by foot and cayuse (Indian pony). He located the falls and was so captivated by their beauty he built a log cabin at the site from which he first saw them.
This site is directly across and downstream from where you are standing.
Albeni built and operated a hotel and eating place used by hunters, fishermen and gold prospectors. He added a barn and a combined saloon, dance hall and blacksmith shop after the Great Northern Railroad completed its link to Troy, Montana, in 1892. Fishing and picnicking excursions to the falls became popular Sunday activities with travelers riding the train from Spokane, Washington. It is said that many people couldn't pronounce his last name, Poirier (Pwá ree áy) so his first name was used to name the falls — Albeni Falls.
Albeni Falls became Albeni Falls Dam in 1955. The region had experienced an increased need for water storage and power production to support the growing shipbuilding and aluminum industries downriver. To meet these
growing needs Congress authorized the dam in 1950 and construction began in 1951. A log chute was included as log drives on the river were still a common practice. Boommen stood on floating log booms poking and prying the logs through the chute to flow downstream to the mills.
Looking down upon the site of the original falls you see the dam and powerhouse. Storing water for power production, Albeni Falls Dam is an important link in the Columbia River hydropower system.