Lake Chelan Dam is a little out of the way and even though it sits in a very popular tourist town, few people actually see it. The dam sits in the Chelan River, produces power, and also helps with regulating the water level of Lake Chelan. If you’ve never been to the area around the Lake Chelan Dam then you are really missing something.
Fun Facts About Lake Chelan Dam
-The official name of the Lake Chelan Dam is the Lake Chelan Hydroelectric Project.
-Lake Chelan Dam is operated by the Chelan County PUD.
-Lake Chelan Dam is a gravity type dam.
-Lake Chelan Dam measures in at 40 feet high.
-Lake Chelan Dam is 490 feet long.
-Lake Chelan Dam sits entirely within Chelan County.
-Lake Chelan sits within the city limits of the city of Chelan.
-The first dam at Chelan was built in 1892 and would later wash out that very same year. Its replacement, built the next year, would also wash out due to high waters.
-In May of 1903, electric lights were turned on in Chelan thanks to power produced by yet another Lake Chelan Dam.
-Construction on the concrete Lake Chelan Dam that operates there today began in 1926 and was placed into commercial operation in 1927.
-The Lake Chelan Dam was built, owned, and operated by the Washington Water Power Company of Spokane.
-1955 saw the Chelan County PUD purchase the Lake Chelan Dam from Washington Water Power at a cost of $21 million.
-The Lake Chelan Dam has eight spillway bays.
-Water going through the spillway charges down the Chelan River channel to the Columbia River below. This channel is quite often dry though as water is usually forced through an underground penstock to the powerhouse at Chelan Falls where electricity is produced.
-On the trip through the penstock from the dam to the powerhouse, water from Lake Chelan drops nearly 400 feet and travels just over two miles.
-The powerhouse for Lake Chelan Dam is located at Chelan Falls and is 150 feet long, 83 feet wide, and 130 feet high.
-Lake Chelan Dam’s powerhouse is home to two power producing turbine generators.
-The original turbines installed in the dam in the mid 1920s were replaced in the mid 1980s.