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Seattle City Light completes Ross Dam on August 18, 1949.
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On August 18, 1949, the third stage of Ross Dam, located in southeast Whatcom County on the Skagit River, is complete. Owned by Seattle City Light, the dam will provide hydroelectric power to the City of Seattle. The dam is 540 feet high and creates Ross Lake which, when full, rises 1,600 feet above sea level. Ross Lake extends into British Columbia, which is 20 miles from the dam.
By 1956, four generators at Ross Dam had produced a total of 360,000 kilowatts of electricity for Seattle.
After 1954, Ross Lake began to flood Canadian territory. City Light agreed to pay $250,000 for the loss of 5,475 acres of land, plus another $5,000 a year. The dam was constructed with the potential of it rising another 125 feet. When this option was planned in the 1960s, Canada objected. City Light eventually agreed to abandon this plan in exchange for the right to buy electricity from British Columbia.
Paul C. Pitzer, Building the Skagit: A Century of Upper Skagit Valley History, 1870-1970 (Portland: The Galley Press, 1988), 87-89.
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