Spokane Falls is the name of a series of waterfalls on the Spokane River right in downtown Spokane. There are two small diversion dams on the river there and the surrounding area was redeveloped into park areas, commercial property, and community spaces both before and after the 1974 World’s Fair in Spokane. The two dams, Upper Falls Dam and the Monroe Street Dam, each directs water to small powerhouses.
Fun Facts About Spokane Falls
-Both Upper Falls Dam and the Monroe Street Dam, on Spokane Falls, are operated by Avista, a regional power company. They also operate hydroelectric projects at Post Falls, Nine Mile, and Long Lake.
-The Monroe Street Dam was completed in 1890.
-The Monroe Street Dam was the first dam built on the Spokane River.
-The Monroe Street Dam is the longest running hydroelectric generating facility in the state of Washington.
-The Monroe Street Dam was almost completely rebuilt prior to the 1974 Spokane World’s Fair.
-1992 saw Avista complete a new underground powerhouse as part of the Monroe Street Dam. This operation saw the five original turbine power producers replaced with just one more efficient one.
-One of the original turbine engines from the Monroe Street Dam powerhouse was donated to the Henry Ford Museum in Dearborn, Michigan.
-The height of the Monroe Street Dam is 24 feet.
-Construction on Upper Falls Dam began in 1920 and was completed in 1922.
-Upper Falls Dam helped power Spokane’s early electric streetcar system when it first came online.
-The penstock pipeline that delivers water from the Spokane River to the powerhouse as part of the Upper Falls Dam facility has a diameter of 18 feet.
-The height of Upper Falls Dam is 35 feet.