The Pelton Wheel Monument
The Pelton Wheel Monument stands alongside the town’s main street, along with a small wooden
building labeled “Jail.” The monument reads, “On this spot in 1878, Lester Allen Pelton invented
the Pelton water wheel. Erected in 1929 by Gravel Range Lodge, Free & Accepted Masons.” An old
story relates how Pelton supposedly came up with the idea for his wheel. A neighbor was watering
her garden when a cow stuck its nose into the stream of water. Pelton noticed how the water
divided into two streams when it bounced off the cow’s nose, due to the ridge between its
nostrils. Pelton applied this observation to a metal cup and the Pelton Wheel was born.