One of these, the Grand Coulee, is four miles wide and bordered on three sides by steep cliffs. Most importantly, it would not raise its reservoir high enough to irrigate the plateau around the Grand Coulee. Canals, siphons, and more dams are used throughout the Columbia Basin, supplying over 600,000 acres (240,000 ha) of farm land. 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. Grand Coulee still ranks among the largest dams and top producers of electricity in the world, although it has been eclipsed in recent years by dams such China’s Three Gorges Dam on the Yangtze River, which has been criticized for its impacts on people and the ecosystem. (509) 633-9503, John W. Keys III Pump-Generating Plant Handout, John W. Keys III, Pump-Generating Plant Dedication Ceremony. (The company had changed its name from Interior Construction at the orders of the Interior Department.) actually refers to a unique geological feature created thousands of years ago when Ice Age glaciers blocked the ancient riverbed of the Columbia River. (The company had changed its name from Interior Construction at the orders of the Interior Department.) Montana & Wyoming. Reclamation solved the problem by adapting Coulee’s generator pits and rerouting the penstocks. A local proposal to dam the Columbia at the head of the Grand Coulee dated to 1918, but the idea faced strong competition from another proposal that called for an irrigation canal to be built from the Pend Oreille River in northern Idaho. More massive than the Great Pyramid of Giza, Grand Coulee is listed by the American Society of Civil Engineers as one of the seven civil engineering wonders of the United States. Located on the Columbia River in the state of Washington, the Grand Coulee Dam stands 550 feet tall and spans across 5,223 feet of river. Lynne Brougher Cars, Motorcycle, Police, Fireman, vintage photo reproduction High quality, 548. In the period between 1880-1910, the arid Columbia Basin had been promoted by land developers as a good place in which to settle and farm. The contract for a low dam, awarded on July 13, 1934, went to the Mason-Walsh-Atkinson-Kier Company (MWAK). The irrigation system carried its first water from Grand Coulee Dam to about 66,000 acres in spring of 1952. The dam, as well, was to be built in two sections--west and east. Coulee powered the Boeing Aircraft Works near Seattle and shipyards in Vancouver, Washington, and Portland, Oregon. The recommendation found traction with the 1932 election of Franklin D. Roosevelt, who took office in a time of great dust bowls and economic depression. They quickly set about designing and building Mason City, touted as the world’s first “all electric city,” to house workers. Grand Coulee Dam provides water to irrigate approximately 600,000 acres in the Columbia Basin Project. $9.99. Grand Coulee, the jobs it created, and the promise it held, convinced citizens that their political system still worked. More massive than the Great Pyramid of Giza, Grand Coulee is listed by the American Society of Civil Engineers as one of the seven civil engineering wonders of the United States. At the time, the generators were the largest ever constructed. Nearly 11,000 men worked more than 27 million hours to divert the river, excavate the foundation, and place concrete. Measuring 18 feet in diameter, Grand Coulee’s original 18 penstocks were so huge they had to be fabricated onsite, in a building as long as a football field. Originally, Grand Coulee was to be a low dam (with plans to raise it higher at a later time). Phone: (509) 633-3074. The irrigation benefits of Grand Coulee would have to wait because the pumps were not installed and all of the dam’s power was required for wartime production to defeat the Axis Powers. By April 1939, more than 5,500 men were employed placing concrete. We are the place to stay while visiting the Grand Coulee Dam… Grand Coulee Dam includes three major hydroelectric power generating plants and a pump generating plant. What many mig… Unprecedented funds flowed to the Bureau of Reclamation as it became a key player in the New Deal’s Public Works Administration (PWA), which spent “big bucks on big projects,” Grand Coulee Dam among them. In September 1939, CBI placed 400,000 cubic yards of concrete, breaking a previous record set by MWAK. Airplanes required aluminum, and by war’s end, Grand Coulee was playing a huge part in a Pacific Northwest that produced more than one-third of the nation’s aluminum. With the end of World War II, the economy in the Northwest continued to boom. Grand Coulee's reservoir, Franklin D. Roosevelt Lake, stretches 150 miles north, almost to the Canadian border.A concrete gravity dam, Grand Coulee took eight years to build, employed thousands of men during the Great Depression and, when completed in 1942, provided the enormous electrical power necessary to make aluminum, so essential for World War II production of planes and ships. The contract for the first three, 108,000 kilowatt generators at Grand Coulee went to Westinghouse at a cost of about $2.6 million each. Below are summaries of key EPA projects in the upper part of the Columbia River basin, from the U.S.-Canada border to Grand Coulee Dam. Because two of Shasta’s 75,000 kilowatt generators were in storage, awaiting completion of the dam, Reclamation decided to use them. Waters back up the Canadian Line.”Appropriate as the word grand is for the dam, the name Grand Coulee actually refers to a unique geological feature created thousands of years ago when Ice Age glaciers blocked the ancient riverbed of the Columbia River. The lake is filled by pumps from the Grand Coulee Dam and forms the first leg of a one-hundred-mile (160 km) irrigation system. So urgent were wartime needs that Reclamation looked to the unfinished Shasta Dam in California for help. Measuring 18 feet in diameter, Grand Coulee’s original 18 penstocks were so huge they had to be fabricated onsite, in a building as long as a football field. Grand Coulee Dam forms Lake Roosevelt, extending 151 miles upstream to the Canadian border. Travel Bureau of Reclamation's Historic Water Projects, discover our shared heritage travel itinerary program, travel bureau of reclamations historic water projects travel itinerary. Fig. “For the first time in its long history, Grand Coulee Dam must reduce toxic pollution,” stated Brett VandenHeuvel, Executive Director of Columbia Riverkeeper. Email: chamber@grandcouleedam.org. Grand Coulee contains 12 million cubic yards of concrete, or enough to build a highway from Seattle to Miami. Concrete placement began in the fall of 1935 but, as winter set in, the air turned so cold that several concrete pours actually froze and had to be blasted away and replaced. Meanwhile, at Reclamation’s experimental laboratory in Colorado, engineers tested different plans for diverting the Columbia so construction could begin. At one point in May, crews worked non-stop for 24 hours, placing an average of one cubic yard (202 gallons) of concrete every four seconds, setting a record. Columbia River Basin in Idaho, Oregon, Washington, “MWAK’s record was remarkable,” Simonds writes. Please call us for more information. 17 Midway Ave. PO Box 760 Grand Coulee, WA 99133. 2. PROVISIONAL DATA SUBJECT TO REVISION. Proponents of this latter “gravity plan” argued that the hydroelectricity generated from the dam was not needed. On October 4, 1941--just two months before America’s entry into World War II, Coulee’s first generator was placed into service. As the dam rose block by block from its bedrock foundation, construction proceeded on its two powerhouses and a pump station that one day would send irrigation water up the hillside to project lands. “MWAK’s record was remarkable,” Simonds writes. 1936 Magazine Article Grand Coulee Dam Construction Columbia River Men Drilling. So grand was Grand Coulee Dam that in 1941 folk singer Woody Guthrie wrote “The Song of the Grand Coulee Dam” (though he was paid to do so under contract with the Bonneville Power Administration.) Forty-five workers died in the process. Groundbreaking ceremonies took place on July 16, 1933, just days before funds were approved for another dam on the Columbia River--the huge Bonneville Dam, to be built downstream by the Corps of Engineers. In January, concrete work halted altogether until spring, when it picked up again, only to halt again the next winter, then pick up in the spring and summer at ever increasing speeds, setting several records for concrete placement. So grand was Grand Coulee Dam that in 1941 folk singer Woody Guthrie wrote “The Song of the Grand Coulee Dam” (though he was paid to do so under contract with the Bonneville Power Administration.) Though it was built more than seventy years ago, it is still a massive and productive asset that will have an impact on many generations to come. The Assembly Building, the building used to fabricate the penstocks, is still standing. The Upper Grand Coulee was dammed and turned into Banks Lake. Grand Coulee is the first of 14 dams along the Columbia River. Originally, Grand Coulee was to be a low dam (with plans to raise it higher at a later time). On Saturday, July 18, 1983, 5,000 people stood in the new third powerhouse. Then, men were lowered into the holes to inspect the quality of the rock. Remove all cities, towns and roadways in the Columbia River drainage. (The Reclamation Act requires that beneficiaries of a project repay those costs, and a multi-purpose project reduced the payment burden on irrigators.) In addition to its irrigation and power functions, Grand Coulee Dam is a primary factor in controlling the floods on the Columbia River. Grand Coulee contains 12 million cubic yards of concrete, or enough to build a highway from Seattle to Miami. Due to the COVID-19 phased reopening restrictions, some of our amenities are not open at this time. Contact However, the … It was originally a project of the Federal Bureau of Reclamation. 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