From Barren Land to Bountiful Harvests: The Story of Last Chance Canal in Grace, Idaho
Grace, Idaho - The Last Chance Canal, a vital source of irrigation water for local farmers, has been a fixture in the Grace community for over a century. The canal's creation, however, was not without its challenges and obstacles.
The story of the Last Chance Canal dates back to the late 1800s when the Grace Valley was first settled by farmers. These early settlers quickly realized that the dry, arid climate of the region made farming incredibly challenging without a reliable water source.
In 1896, a group of farmers led by James H. Hansen formed the Bear River Canal Company and began constructing the Last Chance Canal. The canal was named "Last Chance" because it was the last opportunity for the farmers to find a reliable water source to irrigate their crops.
The construction of the Last Chance Canal was no small feat. It required the excavation of a 15-mile-long canal that would carry water from the Bear River to the Grace Valley. The farmers had to overcome several challenges during the construction process, including rocky terrain, shifting soil, and steep slopes.
Despite these obstacles, the farmers worked tirelessly to complete the canal, which was finally finished in 1901. With the canal operational, the farmers were finally able to irrigate their crops, increasing their yields and securing their livelihoods.
Over the years, the Last Chance Canal has undergone several upgrades and improvements to meet the growing demand for water in the region. In the early 1900s, the canal was widened and deepened, and concrete lining was added to prevent water leakage. In the 1950s, a hydroelectric power plant was installed, providing electricity to the surrounding areas.
Today, the Last Chance Canal remains a critical lifeline for the local farming community, supplying irrigation water to around 15,000 acres of farmland in the Grace area. The canal has not only helped sustain the local agricultural industry but has also played a significant role in the development and growth of the Grace community.
The creation of the Last Chance Canal is a testament to the determination and resilience of the early settlers who refused to let the harsh climate prevent them from farming their land. Their hard work and perseverance laid the foundation for the vibrant agricultural community that thrives in Grace today.