Grand Coulee Dam

Grand Coulee Dam is one of the most famous dams in America, sits on the Columbia River in North Central Washington, and is located near the communities of Coulee Dam, Grand Coulee, and Electric City. With many great places to view the dam from, an excellent visitors center, and a famous nightly laser light show during the warmer months, it is easy to see just why this is such a popular spot with such a wide variety of interests.

Fun Facts About Grand Coulee Dam

-Construction began on Grand Coulee Dam in 1933.

-Grand Coulee Dam opened in 1942.

-Grand Coulee Dam touches both Okanogan and Grant counties.

-Grand Coulee Dam is operated by the United States Bureau of Reclamation.

-Grand Coulee Dam measures in at 550 feet high.

-The original approved plan for Grand Coulee Dam called for it to be built 290 feet high. At that height it would’ve supported power production but not irrigation.

-It is 5,223 feet across the length of Grand Coulee Dam.

-At the top of Grand Coulee Dam it is 30 feet wide. At its base, beneath the water of the Columbia River, it is 500 feet wide.

-When all of the spillway gates are open, one million cubic feet of water per second can pass through Grand Coulee Dam.

-Originally, Grand Coulee Dam was constructed with two power plants. A third one was added and came on line in 1974.

-There are 33 turbine generators working on power production in Grand Coulee Dam.

-Grand Coulee Dam is the largest electric power producing facility in all of America.

-The site where the dam was being built was visited by President Franklin Delano Roosevelt in 1934.

-The water backed up behind Grand Coulee Dam is known as Lake Roosevelt.

-Grand Coulee Dam provides irrigation water for 671,000 acres of land in the Columbia Basin.

-More than 3,000 people, including many Native Americans, were forced to relocate due to being displaced by the rising water behind Grand Coulee Dam.

-22 million cubic yards of dirt and stone were excavated and removed in preparation of the building of Grand Coulee Dam.

-Workers working on the construction of Grand Coulee Dam made approximately 80 centers per hour.

-At the time of construction, two towns existed below Grand Coulee Dam. Engineer’s City was on one side of the river and Mason City was on the other. In 1956, those two communities were combined to form the city of Grand Coulee.

-Water from behind Grand Coulee Dam is pumped up the hillside to form Banks Lake.

-1943 saw two generators that had been initially intended for the Shasta Dam, instead installed at Grand Coulee Dam. The extra power was needed to assist the needs of the Hanford Site, a plutonium production facility near Richland, Washington.

-The Columbia River Treaty was signed in 1961 by Canadian Prime Minister John Diefenbaker and United States President Dwight Eisenhower. The treaty dealth with resolving the economic and political issues surrounding water storage and regulation projects from water backed up behind Grand Coulee Dam all the way into Canada.

-The funing bill to build the third powerhouse at Grand Coulee Dam was signed in 1966 by President Lyndon Baines Johnson.

-The spillway at Grand Coulee Dam is 1,650 feet long.

-June of 1941 saw Native Americans from around the northwest gather at Kettle Falls for a “Ceremony of Tears” to commemorate the falls disappearing below the water. This had been a popular and important fishing spot for tribes for centuries.

-In the 1990s, the federal government compensated the Colville Indian tribe with a lump settlement of $53 million, plus annual payments of roughly $15 million, for loss of resources.

-A commemorative postage stamp of Grand Coulee Dam was issued in 1952.

-The popular laser light show that is shown on the face of Grand Coulee Dam began in 1989.

Featured Attractions / Activities Near Grand Coulee Dam

Coulee Playland
Coulee Dam Casino

Featured Lodging Near Grand Coulee Dam

Trail West Motel

Featured Restaurants Near Grand Coulee Dam

The Grand Coulee Grill