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Treasures of the Digital Archives: Grand Coulee Dam

Grand Coulee Dam Construction, BLM 3000 Series, State Library Photograph Collection, 1851-1990.

Grand Coulee Dam Construction, BLM 3000 Series, State Library Photograph Collection, 1851-1990.

Grand Coulee Dam was the center of the Columbia Basin Irrigation Project. Built between 1933 and 1942 as a public works project of the New Deal, it provided irrigation to approximately 700,000 acres in Eastern Washington, making the desert bloom via the Banks Lake reservoir. Grand Coulee Dam also produces 21 billion kilowatts of electricity each year, and recreational opportunities abound on Lake Roosevelt, which lies behind the dam. There were costs as well: 77 people died during construction, small communities and hunting grounds disappeared beneath the new lake, and the dam brought an end to the great salmon migrations to the rivers and streams above.

The Digital Archives holds other records containing information on the dam. A “Keyword” search of Grand Coulee Dam on our home page retrieves 477 minutes, ordinances, and resolutions, 93 photos, 74 corporation records, 34 audio files, and a few maps and state publications. The photo above can be found here.