The Grand Coulee Dam
The Grand Coulee Dam is the largest concrete structure ever built.
This barricade, which raises the water surface 350 feet above the
old riverbed, is 5,233 feet long, 550 feet high, and contains
11,975,500 cubic yards of concrete.
The dam is 550 feet high, 500 feet wide at its base and 5,223
feet long. It is also the 3rd largest producer of electricity in
the world. The reservoir impounded by the dam is called Franklin
D Roosevelt Lake. Communities sprang up during construction and
have remained during the operation of the dam, including Electric
City, Grand Coulee, and the town of Coulee Dam.
On July 16, 1933, an enthusiastic crowd of 3,000 witnessed the
first stake being driven into place, initiating the greatest
engineering endeavor yet undertaken. Although pioneer settlers
lived and farmed the area, the project attracted thousands
of men and women to work during the Great Depression era.
President Franklin Delano Roosevelt authorized $60 million
to get the dam project started which eventually would bring
electricity to 11 western states and irrigation to over
500,000 acres of farmland in the Columbia Basin
Construction was completed in 1942. The first power was generated
in 1941 and the last of the original 18 units (Right and Left
Powerhouses) began production in 1950. Pumping for irrigation
commenced in 1952 with six pumps installed.
Grand Coulee Dam's hydroelectric generating facilities include
four powerhouses (counting the pumping plant) with a total of 24
main generators, three station service generators and six
pump/generators. These provide a combined generating capacity of
6480 megawatts. This makes Grand Coulee Dam the largest producer
of hydroelectric power in the United States and the third largest
such facility in the world.
Largest concrete dam in North America.
3rd largest producer of electricity in the world.
Length: 5,223 ft.
Height above bedrock: 550 ft.
Spillway width:1,650 ft.
Total concrete: 11,975,521 cubic yards
Primary function: hydropower, flood control, irrigation, fish &
4 power plants (Bonneville Dam: 2 and Hoover Dam: 1).
33 generators (Bonneville Dam: 21 and Hoover Dam: 17)
One of the modern engineering wonders of the world
The first water spill over the dam was on June 1, 1942.
The first laser light show was in May of 1989
Has been called the 8th Wonder of the World
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