Grangeville’s Columbian Mammoth Exhibit

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Grangeville's Columbian Mammoth ExhibitGrangeville found Mammoth bones in Tolo Lake! Find the exhibit on Highway 95 at Pine Street in the Soltman Park behind our Grangeville Chamber of Commerce Visitors Center.

Grangeville’s mammoth replica, 14 feet height and 17 feet long from tusk to tail was a five-year project to partially recreate the creature, based on mammoth bones discovered at nearby Tolo Lake. ( 5 miles west of Grangeville.)


The Discovery of Mammoths in Grangeville Idaho

Remains first found in 1994 by Lorie Palmer (Idaho County Free Press)

Grangeville's Columbian Mammoth Exhibit Jerald Smith first discovered mammoth remains at Tolo Lake Sept. 1, 1994. Smith was excavating for the Department of Fish and Game in an effort to deepen the drained lake for better wildlife habitat.

After calls to local experts and archaeologists, the area became a hot spot that fall and the next summer for both professional and volunteer diggers.

….In all, according to the Mammoth Replica Committee, remains of more than 200 Colombian Mammoths, which became extinct 10,000 to 15,000 years ago, were discovered. It is believed these prehistoric mammals may have come to the lake area to die.

Grangeville's Mammoth Find at Tolo LakeTolo Lake was refilled in 1996 and planted with fish. Today, it is a popular area fishing hole.

On September 2, 1994, Rich Gribble & Gerald Smith, discovered large bones buried in the mud of Tolo Lake, which had been drained to deepen it for better wildlife habitat. Mammoths are close relatives to the modern Asian elephant, but only distantly related to the African elephant. To date, the only species positively identified at Tolo Lake is the huge Columbian mammoth, typical of ancient cool to subtropical environments in North America.

Tolo Lake has been a gathering spot for animals for many thousands of years, and for mankind at least 11,000 years. It was a part of the Nez Perce home territory. Their name for the lake was Te-Pal-e-wam. After the Indian wars of 1877 the lake was renamed to honor a courageous Nez Perce woman, Tolo. With bravery she helped the settlers who had become her friends.

As a way to commemorate the find Grangeville’s Chamber of Commerce took over the project, the Mammoth replica Committee began fund-raising efforts shortly after the discovery of the remains. Eimers Park, next to the Grangeville chamber of commerce, on Highway 95, was chosen for the site for the exhibit.