Photographer unknown, Montana Historical Society Archives
Two small shacks of unknown ownership can be seen a quarter of a mile to the northwest, at the bend of the river. The dot on the horizon possibly is a structure at the Montana Smelter, which was established about 1890.
At about ten o'clock on the morning of June 14, 1805, Captain Lewis took his gun and his espontoon and set out on a short walk up the north side of the river (at right in this photo), to see how far the rapids extended above the "grand Fall." With the Hidatsas' assurance of a half-day portage still in mind, he fully expected he would be back at camp by noon.
For a time, later in the nineteenth century, it seemed to some viewers that "horseshoe fall," would be more descriptive, but Lewis's name has prevailed. The islands and sloping rock Lewis noted have been obliterated by the in-fill on the north bank, which covers three large pipes that carry water from an intake above Rainbow Fall to a powerhouse a short distance below Crooked Falls.
© 2001 Jim Wark, Airphoto
Of all the falls of the Missouri, this one remains the nearest to the way it looked to Lewis and Clark.
Just above these falls, the captain continued, "the river makes a suddon bend to the right or Northwardly. I should have returned from hence but hearing a tremendious roaring above me I continued my rout across the point of a hill a fiew hundred yards further." For Clark's description of Crooked Falls, see his map of 'Handsom Falls'.