Owyhee Dam

Located in eastern Oregon, on the Owyhee River, is Owyhee Dam. This historic looking dam is impressive to see as it spans cliff walls and holds back its reservoir. Surrounding the dam and its reservoir is a lot of uninhabited land and the remoteness there gives it a somewhat unique setting. You can reach Owyhee Dam off of Interstate 84, but it is quite a drive. Once there, the reservoir behind it, as well as Owyhee Lake State Park, are both popular attractions too.

Fun Facts About Owyhee Dam

-Construction began on Owyhee Dam in 1928 and the facility opened in 1932.

-The construction company that built Owyhee Dam near the beginning of the Great Depression was General Construction Company of Seattle, Washington.

-Many of the experimental methods used in the building of Owyhee Dam were later used in building the larger Hoover Dam on the Colorado River. Included was the use of refrigeration to cool the concrete.

-Owyhee Dam was designed by Frank A. Banks. Banks was also the main designer of Grand Coulee Dam on the Columbia River.

-On July 17, 1932, Owyhee Dam was dedicated when United States Secretary of the Interior Ray Lyman Wilbur delivered President Herbert Hoover’s message in a ceremony at the dam site. President Hoover spent part of his youth growing up in Oregon.

-Owyhee Dam is a concrete arch dam.

-Owyhee Dam sits on the Owyhee River.

-The total cost of construction of Owyhee Dam was $6 million.

-Owyhee Dam is operated by the Owyhee Irrigation District. The dam is owned by the United States Bureau of Reclamation.

-Owyhee Dam measures in at 417 feet tall.

-Owyhee Dam is 833 feet long.

-At its base beneath the water, Owyhee Dam is 265 feet wide. It is 30 feet wide at the top above the water line.

-The water behind Owyhee Dam is known as Owyhee Reservoir, but is often referred to as Lake Owyhee.

-Water leaves Lake Owyhee through Owyhee Dam and travels down the Owyhee River for a number of miles before emptying into the Snake River.

-For two years after it was completed, Owyhee Dam was the tallest concrete arch gravity dam in the world.

-The Owyhee Dam Historic District is listed on the National Register of Historic Places.

-Haystack Rock Road is the name of the road that travels across the top of the Owyhee Dam.

-At the time of its construction, there was no hydroelectric purpose of Owyhee Dam. Energy production was added to the dam in the 1980s.

-Owyhee Dam is home to two turbine generators used for power production.

-More than 120,000 acres of land is irrigated with water stored behind Owyhee Dam.

-Owyhee Dam contains 537,500 cubic yards of concrete.

-The dam built in 1934 that topped Owyhee Dam as the tallest concrete arch dam in the world was Lac du Chambon Dam in France.

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