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The Atlas of Drowned Towns: Recovering the Histories of Places Lost to Dam Construction

Tuesday, October 17, 2023 at 3:30pm to 5:00pm

McKenzie Hall, 375
1101 Kincaid Street, Eugene, OR

Lecture by Bob Reinhardt (Boise State University) 

During the twentieth century, hundreds of communities in the American West disappeared, and no one seemed to care. River development projects—massive dams built for irrigation, hydroelectricity, and flood control—displaced or destroyed towns, Tribal communities, farmsteads, and ranches on the Columbia, Snake, Colorado, and other rivers. Recovering these lost histories is the mission of The Atlas of Drowned Towns, a multimedia and multi-platform public history project ( This talk will introduce and explain the objectives and vision of The Atlas of Drowned Towns, exploring some of the questions lurking under the surface of reservoirs: How did these displaced communities respond to their removal—with enthusiasm, acquiescence, or/and resistance? Why did they respond in those ways? What was it like to live in and have to leave these places? And what can we in the 21st century learn from the history of displacement, as we face a future that threatens more such displacement? 

The Department of History’s Seminar Series runs throughout the academic year and features guest speakers from the nation’s top universities who share their perspectives on history. Visit for more information about this event and others in the series. 

Event Type

Lectures & Presentations, Seminar


College of Arts & Sciences, History

Target Audience

All Students, Faculty/Staff



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