Here's the powerhouse at Bonneville when it was new and shiny. Hard to believe it's almost 80 years old. The dam and the electricity it generated radically transformed this area, both changing the river and the local economy.
Tags: 1940s Bonneville_Dam dam electricity
There is still evidence of the rails shown here that brought in the generators and other heavy equipment. It was then lifted off by traveling cranes, whose rails also still show, to be installed. Dedicaton was by Roosevelt in 1937 so I assume this photo is about 1936..
Kenn on 5th January 2016 @ 8:23am
and a conversation from the time: "who will ever use all that electricity"....as I remember the telling from father John L.
Arlen Sheldrake on 5th January 2016 @ 9:18am
In 1945, I got to go down into this building and see the generators.
Bill Seaton on 5th January 2016 @ 11:36am
There is no doubt the United States Government has made the biggest changes to the Columbia River and the Gorge area.
As a young man, my dad had employment working with a crew of men, clearing ground and erecting the towers for the power lines. Those were depression years and the employment was welcomed.
One of those power lines ran through our family farm. I grew up hearing the story that my grandfather was never paid the promised amount for the right of way through the farm.
I never thought much about the tower close to our house. It was just part of the hay field and where the hawks sat, watching the chickens in the chicken yard.
Then a few years ago, I was trying to get permits to replace the old family farm house with a new house for my mom. The power line became a big issue.
The December 24, 1937 Mt Adams Sun has an article,...
"Bonneville Dam Is Forming Its Big Lake Now."
"...The 50-mile pool behind Bonneville dam is slowly being filled and as the waters of the Columbia river rise old familiar landmarks along the stream will be submerged.....
The first of these will be Cascade rapids and the navigation locks at that point......
Soon after the first of the year the pool will be filled to the 67 foot level, at which time the fishways will be placed in operation.
The final act in harnessing the mightly Columbia for the generation of electric power and the improvement in navigation will follow closely and will be the boosting of the water to 72 feet, the normal level and Bonneville lake will be the new man-made scenic attraction......"
I suspect the HR water sports have benefited from the Bonneville pool.
L.E. on 5th January 2016 @ 1:38pm
L.E. did the farmhouse for your family ever get built? Sounds almost like what happened to the Indians.
nels on 5th January 2016 @ 2:51pm
The old farm house was already in place when the power lines were installed.
In 2004 my mother was replacing the old farm house with a new home, but there was a snag in the permits because of location and right of way with the BPA power line.
L.E. on 5th January 2016 @ 8:33pm
Oh yeah, I think I remember that ruckus. Glad it worked out.
nels on 6th January 2016 @ 2:12am