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That year Rufus Woods, the visionary publisher of the Wenatchee World newspaper, began advocating for a dam that would provide irrigation water to the Columbia Plateau. According to the federal Bureau of Reclamation, which operates the dam, the Left Powerhouse has three generators with a total capacity of 3 megawatts to provide power at the dam site, plus nine generators rated at 125 megawatts each. In the Grand Coulee, life changed dramatically and quickly once work on the dam began in 1933. It towers 550 feet above bedrock (as high as the Washington Monument) and is 500 feet wide at the base. Length: 5,223 feet or nearly a mile long! By 1935, the plans were upgraded and the high dam was under construction. The largest of these, at the Third Power Plant, are 40 feet in diameter and carry up to 35,000 cubic feet per second of water, or more than twice the average annual flow of the Colorado River. How big is Lake Roosevelt behind Grand Coulee Dam? The tour takes about an hour. The Grand Coulee is the most famous structure of this kind. The original 18 generators began operating between 1941 and 1950. It has a generating capacity of 6,809 megawatts of electricity, enough to meet the needs of over 4 million residential customers a year. This was a blow to the ditchers. It needs to be exciting. In 1922 the Federal Power Commission granted a preliminary permit. The dam wiped out runs that spawned in tributaries that drained into the Columbia from that point, river mile 596, to the headwaters, a distance of 645 river miles. One of the first, if not the first, published reports of a proposal to irrigate the Columbia Plateau with water from the Columbia River was in 1892, when the Coulee City News and The Spokesman-Review reported on a scheme by a man named Laughlin McLean to build a 1,000-foot-tall dam to divert the entire flow of the Columbia back into the Grand Coulee; he also earlier proposed a 95-mile canal across the Columbia Plateau from a diversion point somewhere farther upriver. Sorry, your blog cannot share posts by email. Today, it hosts one of the largest dams in the US - the Grand Coulee Dam. 17 Midway Ave. PO Box 760 Grand Coulee, WA 99133. Everyone should take the opportunity to stop at the visitor center to learn about the history of the dam, and stay for the evening laser light show that's projected onto the face of the dam. Each year, more than a million visitors enjoy the beauty and recreational opportunities of the Lake Roosevelt National Recreation Area. Grand Coulee Dam is the largest hydropower producer in the United States, generating more than 21 billion kilowatt-hours of electricity each year. Also showing is a movie about the Ice Age Flood that carved out the Grand Coulee. None of this is exciting. Normal hours of operation: Monday – Friday 9:00 am to 5:00 pm ( pacific time ) Grand Coulee Dam is an important and vital project in the Pacific Northwest. No bags of any kind, even camera or diaper bags are allowed. The canal would begin at Albeni Falls and run downhill, through tunnels where necessary, to the Ritzville area. Grand Coulee Dam, located on the Columbia River in central Washington, is one of the largest concrete structures in the world. Washington Water Power tried to kill the pumping project by proposing to build its own dam at Kettle Falls. The Washington State Columbia Basin Commission, created for the purpose of directing state construction of the dam, whether a low dam or high dam, acquiesced to the federal takeover after finding itself hamstrung with state law requirements for such an undertaking and its own infighting. The federal Reclamation Service and the state of Washington had spent thousands of dollars looking for ways to provide irrigation; a 1914 bond measure that would have paid for irrigating a portion of the area had failed. The Okanogan County portion was known as Mason City, location of the head contractor. Roosevelt’s New Deal policies supported the concept of multiple purposes dams — dams that generate power and also provide water for irrigation, recreation and flood control. GRAND COULEE DAM AREA CHAMBER OF COMMERCE. Not only did the undertaking of this massive project change forever the shape of the river, but overnight it created towns where nothing but sagebrush, sand and rocks had previously existed. And so, with that context, it is easier to understand the stirring endorsement Rufus Woods gave the dam, and the people who built it, in his speech to the graduating class of Grand Coulee High School in 1942, a year after the great dam's turbines began spinning electricity across the Northwest: "So here it stands, a monument to the idea and the power of an idea; a monument to organization, a monument to cooperation; a monument to opposition; a monument to the United States Army Engineers; a monument to the United States Bureau of Reclamation; a monument to the magic spirit of willing men which accomplishes more than the might of money or the marvels of machinery; a monument to the brains, the intellect of great engineers -- and you, class of 1942, could you come back here a thousand years hence, or could your spirit hover around this place ten thousand years hence, you would hear the sojourners talking as they behold this 'slab of concrete,' and you would hear them say, 'Here in 1942, indeed there once lived a great people.". Grand Coulee Dam, gravity dam on the Columbia River in the state of Washington, U.S. It has since become the linchpin in harnessing the second largest river in the United States. The Grand Coulee used to be a river in the U.S. state of Washington.This dry river stretches for sixty miles from the Grand Coulee Dam to Soap Lake.A feature known as Dry Falls divides the Coulee into two parts. All are expected to be returned to service by December 2020. Construction of Grand Coulee Dam took place from 1933 through 1942. But he had promised Dill before the election that he would build it if he won. It was formed as a result of thousands of years of erosion. See new interactive exhibits at the Visitor Center, even fly through the dam in a virtual reality game on a plasma screen. The Right Powerhouse has nine generators rated at 125 megawatts apiece. I have to find a way to attract my teacher and classmates. The dam provides water for agriculture in Central Washington. Pumpers like O’Sullivan saw potential benefits in hydropower. Although electricity was not foreseen as a primary function when the dam was built, today the production of electrical energy is one of Grand Coulee Dam’s most important jobs. It was originally a project of the Federal Bureau of Reclamation. List with Go Northwest! Think about what kids want to hear about. I need to get some interesting facts for my school project. The ditchers wanted to irrigate the Columbia Basin with water from the Pend Oreille River. After negotiating with the Department of the Interior the commission agreed to federal construction while salvaging consultation rights and permission to keep commission representatives at the construction site. At its conclusion, President Franklin D. Roosevelt authorized $60 million to get the dam project started. Meanwhile, the John W. Keys III pumping plant also is being modernized. The foundations of any dam can be compromised, and this is one of the most feared and dangerous types of dam failure. A variety of studies were conducted in the 1920s; some supported the canal plan and others the dam. The study by Major John S. Butler of the Seattle district of the Corps, completed in 1932, recommended a series of 10 dams on the river, including one at Grand Coulee and others in British Columbia. Roosevelt Lake, the reservoir behind the dam, extends over 150 miles. In addition to producing hydroelectric power, the dam also provides water for irrigation projects that span more than 670,000 acres. The waters behind the dam rose 380 feet (120 m), flooding more than 21,000 acres (85 km 2) of prime bottomland along the river where native peoples lived, as well as the original town of Kettle Falls. It took nine years to build Grand Coulee Dam, but even more years of battling and political maneuvering before construction started. Senators Wesley Jones and Clarence Dill of Washington persuaded President Hoover in 1929 to support a $600,000 study of Columbia River hydropower potential by the Corps of Engineers. Located in Washington State, the Moses Coulee is also a renowned feature of this type. Water supplied by Grand Coulee Dam irrigates more than 600,000 acres of rich farmland in the Columbia Basin annually. Other advantages were gained too. The John W. Keys Pump-Generator Plant, which is located on the left bank of the river just upstream from the dam, contains 12 pumps that lift water up the hillside to a canal that flows into Banks Lake, the 27-mile-long reservoir for the Columbia Basin Project. The reservoir has a shoreline of 660 miles, a surface area of 82,000 acres, and a total storage capacity of 9,562,000 acre-feet of water. Each spring the water level of Lake Roosevelt, behind Grand Coulee Dam, is lowered to make space for massive amounts of water that will flow down the Columbia River in late spring and summer as rising temperatures melt snow in the Rocky Mountains. Washington Governor Ernest Lister was a “ditcher.” In a speech in November 1918, he commented that “at least 50,000 families could be accommodated on the lands mentioned in the project.” Lister died in office in 1919, and the acting governor, Louis F. Hart, did not feel so strongly about the gravity project. The National Park Service has authority for the portion of the lake and adjacent shoreland comprising the Lake Roosevelt National Recreation Area (LRNRA). • View the award-winning movie, “The Columbia — a Fountain of Life,” at the Visitor Center. The plant provides irrigation water to Banks Lake and the Columbia Basin Project and hydropower when the turbines are reversed and water is released from the lake. The pumpers saw this as another attempt by arrogant Spokanites to control all of eastern Washington. The Grand Coulee Dam is the largest producer of hydroelectric power in the United States and the third largest hydroelectric facility in the world. Post was not sent - check your email addresses! The federal project not only conformed with New Deal principles, it also conformed with Interior Secretary Harold Ickes’s intentions that public relief projects should help the national recovery and create a valuable product able to pay for itself. The Grand Coulee Dam is by far the largest hydroelectric project in the US, with an installed capacity of 6,809 MW. O’Sullivan liked the idea and soon began writing articles about such a dam, and Woods published them in his newspaper. The Third Power Plant contains three generators rated at 600 megawatts apiece and three rated at 805 megawatts. Clapp is credited with suggesting, in 1917, that if nature once blocked the Columbia with an ice dam that forced water into the now-dry Grand Coulee, man could do the same with concrete. Hydropower accounts for 79.7 percent of Grand Coulee’s authorized purposes, the others being irrigation and flood control. Electricity is generated by unseen torrents of water rushing through the turbines within the dam’s hydro-electric plants. The battle raged for 13 years. i dont understand this i thought it was suppost to be cool it all the same tipical things every website has it should be ordenery or or something that cahes somebodys eye like somthing interesting. Grand Coulee Dam, on the Columbia River west of Spokane, Washington, is one of the largest structures ever built by mankind--a mass of concrete standing 550 feet high and 5,223 feet long, or just shy of a mile. In 1948, for example, Vice Presidential candidate Earl Warren remarked: “Probably Hitler would have beaten us in atom bomb development if it had not been for the hydroelectric development of the Columbia, making possible the big Hanford project which brought forth the bomb.” Pitzer comments in his book, Grand Coulee: Harnessing a Dream: “Grand Coulee Dam's contribution augmented those of Hoover Dam, the Tennessee Valley Authority dams and other hydro and non-hydroelectric projects nationally.... Grand Coulee allowed the government to produce aluminum and run Hanford while not disturbing the day-to-day lives of most Americans. This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. There is enough concrete in the dam to build two standard six-foot wide sidewalks around the world at the equator. The government could have diverted power from domestic uses but Grand Coulee, among other projects, made this unnecessary. Grand Coulee is 450-500 feet thick at its base and 30 feet thick at the top, and it contains 11,975,521 cubic yards (9,155,944 cubic meters) of concrete, three times as much as Hoover Dam. The benefits of reclamation, Pitzer writes, "were viewed as positive conservation measures in their day.". Everything about the dam is large: it is 550 feet (167.6 meters) tall, measured from its foundation in solid granite, or approximately 350 feet (106.7 meters) from the downstream river surface to the top of the dam. The Bureau of Reclamation, envisioning success with Hoover Dam, was partial to big irrigation projects. The two original power plants, the first of which began producing power in 1941, are called the Left Power Plant and the Right Power Plant, following the standard naming protocol of facing downriver. Today, Grand Coulee continues to be the big workhorse of the Federal Columbia River Power System; its outflow affects generation at all of the Columbia River dams downstream. The two power plants, each of which houses nine large generators, are split by the spillway, which is 1,300 feet wide and covers an area of 13.26 acres. (Read the March 2016 Smithsonian article on the 75th anniversary of the dam's completion.). Water from Lake Roosevelt (behind the dam) is lifted 280 feet up a hillside to flow into the Banks Lake reservoir, where it starts a journey that eventually covers an area more than twice the size of the state of Delaware. Coulee Dam was founded by the U.S Bureau of Reclamation in 1933, to serve as headquarters for construction of the Grand Coulee dam. By largely eliminating anadromous fish above the Okanogan River, the Grand Coulee Dam also set the stage for the subsequent decision not to provide for fish passage at Chief Jos… There is enough concrete in the dam to build two standard six-foot wide sidewalks around the world at the equator. Soon, the battle was joined between the “pumpers” and the “ditchers.”. For a time, Grand Coulee Dam was the largest concrete structure ever built, but today that distinction goes to the Three Gorges Dam in China, completed in 2009. Except for inconveniencing the civilian population, little would have changed had Grand Coulee not existed during World War II.". Grand Coulee Dam is the largest hydroelectric facility in North America. And the most significant of the dams, at least in terms of the number of known runs that were extinguished, is Grand Coulee. The ice forced the river to rise from its historic channel and flow to the south, where it carved a giant canyon — the Grand Coulee. While no one person can be considered the “father” of the dam, these three men were among its earliest, most active and enthusiastic promoters. Bureau of Reclamation publicists and patriotic news reporters, among others, hailed Grand Coulee Dam as almost single-handedly winning World War II for the allies. The water is “captured” in the lake to prevent flooding downstream and to provide a steady flow of water for the whole year. Discover other cool facts about the dam. Grand Coulee impounds a reservoir, Franklin D. Roosevelt Lake, named for the president who authorized construction of the dam, which began in 1933 (see construction photos). Grand Coulee Dam: Leaving a Legacy by Christian McClung. Abundant information and films are available at the VC. If you want to draw people in you have to make it interesting for all ages, especially teens. Its completion at the beginning of World War II quieted its many critics, who had derided it as a colossal dam in the near-wilderness of a remote state, and whose only customers, according to one detractor in Congress, would be “sage brush and jackrabbits.” While it is true Grand Coulee contributed energy to the war effort by helping to power the Army’s nuclear facility at Hanford and the region's aircraft and aluminum industries, its impact was overrated at the time, according to historian Paul Pitzer, who has written extensively about the dam. Grand Coulee Dam is one of the largest concrete structures in the world, containing almost 12 million cubic yards of concrete. It is 5,223 feet (1,592 meters) long, or 57 feet short of a mile. The dam is very impressive for its sheer size (even though the scenery is not as dramatic as Altogether, a total of 11 dams have been built on the river in the United States as it winds its way from the Canadian border toward the Pacific Ocean; Grand Coulee Dam is the keystone of the Columbia River system dams. Recreation on the lake is managed cooperatively by three federal agencies and two Indian tribes. This dam was created with the aim of supplementing electric power in the country and is also used for irrigation. While hydropower is the primary purpose of the dam today, the public desire for irrigation was the driving force behind its construction. Each of the six conventional pumps in Grand Coulee’s Pump-Generator Plant is powered by a 65,000-horsepower motor and will pump 1,600 cubic feet of water per second, or 781,128 gallons per minute. • The Third Powerhouse tour uses vans and small buses that take up to 35 people at a time from the elevator parking area to the floor of the powerhouse for the tour – then up to the top of the dam. Grand Coulee Dam (kōō´lē), 550 ft (168 m) high and 4,173 ft (1,272 m) long, on the Columbia River, N central Wash., NW of Spokane; built 1933–42 as a key unit in the Columbia basin project of the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation. Roosevelt responded that he would support a low dam — 150 feet tall from bedrock instead of 550 feet as proposed — that could be raised later, if necessary. Phone: (509) 633-3074. 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