Kettle Falls, on the Columbia River, is below the mouth of the Kettle River. It was an important salmon fishing place for Indian tribes until 1939, when the falls were flooded out by the construction of the Grand Coulee Dam. French-Canadian fur traders called the falls Les Chaudieres (The Kettles) as boulders revolving in the current had worn huge, kettle-shaped holes in the stream bed below the falls, and Americans changed the name to English. The Indian name was reported as Ilth-koy-ape, a Salish phrase meaning “net of tightly-woven baskets” which were used to catch salmon below the falls. An Indian name more often given, and somewhat more plausible, is Schwan-ate-ku, meaning “the place of the deep-sounding water.”
Until 1941, this was a thriving town with broad main street, modern hotels and business buildings and an airfield nearby. When citizens of Kettle Falls learned their town was doomed to be flooded by the backwaters of Coulee Dam, they asked Meyers Falls, a village of approximately 100 people about four miles north to consolidate and retain the Kettle Falls name; a majority of the populations of the two towns approved. Kettle Falls then annexed a 6o-foot strip of land completely surrounding the town of Meyers Falls and moved its citizens there.
Located just south of town is an interpretive site where historical markers tell the story of Meyers Falls and the first water power mill in the Pacific Northwest area, begun here in 1816.