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Library Search Results: Abstracts

Your search for SeattleCityLight found 46 files.
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Showing 1 - 7 of 7 results

Cedar River Tour

This is a Rivers in Time tour of the Cedar River, home of Seattle's watershed since 1901. Curated by Alan J. Stein. Presented by King County, Seattle Public Utilities, and Seattle City Light.
File 7043: Full Text >

City Light's Birth and Seattle's Early Power Struggles, 1886-1950

City Light, Seattle's publicly owned electric utility, began to take shape in 1902, when voters approved bonds for a hydroelectric dam on the Cedar River. The project, completed in 1905, was a direct response to the virtual monopoly held by Puget Sound Traction, Light & Power Company (known as Puget Power) over local electrical service and street railways. City Light became an independent city department in 1910 and competed head to head with Puget Power for the next 40 years in an often bitter political and economic struggle for control of regional power markets and supplies.
File 2318: Full Text >

Pend Oreille River (Boundary Dam) Hydroelectric Project

Seattle City Light's Boundary Dam on the Pend Orielle River, in Northeastern Washington near the Idaho border, today (2003) supplies half the hydroelectric power for Seattle (a quarter of Seattle's power from all sources). Completed in 1967, its generating capacity almost doubled in the 1980s with the addition of two more turbines.
File 5198: Full Text >

Ross, James Delmage (J. D.) (1872-1939)

James Delmage (J. D.) Ross is known as the Father of Seattle City Light. A firm believer in the municipal ownership of power utilities, Ross helped design and build the power plant at Cedar Falls on the Cedar River. He is best known for his efforts to secure and construct the hydroelectric project on the Upper Skagit River, which provides 40 percent of Seattle’s electricity. Ross Lake and Ross Dam on the Skagit are named in his honor.
File 2557: Full Text >

Seattle City Light -- Walt Sickler on the Line Crew, 1949-1973 -- A Slideshow

This is a slideshow photo essay about working on a line crew for Seattle City Light in the 1950s. It is narrated by former lineman Walt Sickler and curated by David Wilma.
File 7046: Full Text >

Upper Skagit River Hydroelectric Project

Three Seattle City Light dams on the Upper Skagit River in the Cascade Mountains today (2000) produce 25 percent of the electrical power consumed in Seattle. (The dams are located in southeast Whatcom County along a 7 to 8 mile section of Skagit River. Starting downriver and proceeding eastward toward Canada they are in order Gorge, Diablo, Ross. Ross Lake formed by Ross Dam extends into British Columbia, which is 20 miles from the dam.) Planning for hydroelectric dams began as early as 1905 and construction, but not controversy, finally concluded in 1961. The project had to overcome competition, politics, international diplomacy, the weather, and the mountains themselves.
File 5347: Full Text >

Vickery, Gordon Franklin (1920-1996)

Gordon Franklin Vickery served the City of Seattle for 34 years, first as a firefighter, rising to the office of Chief, and then as Superintendent of Seattle City Light. In both offices he exercised strong leadership and implemented many innovations. His tenure at City Light was controversial and his impact on the department "had to be measured on the Richter Scale" (Watson). In 1977, both mayoral candidates promised to fire him.
File 2549: Full Text >

Showing 1 - 20 of 32 results

Edison agents turn on first central incandescent lighting plant west of the Rockies in Seattle on March 22, 1886.

On March 22, 1886, representatives of Thomas Edison demonstrate the first electrical generator in Seattle. The Seattle Electric Company's steam-powered dynamo, located in Pioneer Square, is the first central incandescent lighting plant west of the Rocky Mountains.
File 5405: Full Text >

Seattle voters approve electric utility bonds on March 4, 1902, leading to creation of Seattle City Light.

On March 4, 1902, three-fifths of Seattle voters approve $500,000 in bonds to fund construction of a municipal hydroelectric dam and plant at Cedar Lake. The project is entrusted to the Seattle Water Department and a young engineer named James D. Ross (1872-1939). The Seattle Lighting Department, or City Light, was created in 1910 and Ross became superintendent (following a brief tenure by Richard Arms) in 1911.
File 2317: Full Text >

Cedar Falls hydroelectric plant begins lighting Seattle streets on January 10, 1905.

On January 10, 1905, the Cedar Falls hydroelectric plant begins lighting Seattle street lamps for the first time. The plant had begun operation in October 1904. The City of Seattle owns the power plant, which is the first municipally owned plant in the United States.
File 2284: Full Text >

Seattle City Light starts serving private customers on September 9, 1905.

On September 9, 1905, Seattle City Light starts supplying individual customers with electricity. The first residential customer is The Reverend J. M. Wilson, pastor of the Westminster Presbyterian Church, who had applied for service in January.
File 729: Full Text >

Seattle City Light installs an ornamental street lighting system in 1909.

In 1909, Seattle City Light installs an ornamental street lighting system in preparation for the Alaska-Yukon-Pacific Exposition. This improvement coincides with the extensive regrading of huge tracts of land in the commercial downtown and surrounding neighborhoods. The promise of thousands of visitors places the city's image in the forefront of city planning and budget decisions.
File 1724: Full Text >

Seattle City Light becomes an independent department on April 1, 1910.

On April 1, 1910, the Seattle City Council approves the creation of an independent Department of Lighting, later known as City Light. The new department is separated from the former Department of Light and Water, which had built the city's first hydroelectric dam at Cedar Falls in 1905, and it is made a full member of the Board of Public Works. James D. Ross (1872-1939) takes charge of the new department in 1911 and serves as its superintendent until 1934.
File 2316: Full Text >

Hydroelectric power from Skagit River reaches Seattle on September 14, 1924.

On September 14, 1924, hydroelectric power from Seattle City Light's Gorge Powerhouse on the Skagit River in southeast Whatcom County reaches Seattle. Three days later, on September 17, President Calvin Coolidge (1872-1933) presses a gold telegraph key in Washington, D.C., which begins formal operation of a generator that produces 30,000 kilowatts of electricity.
File 2528: Full Text >

Seattle City Light dedicates Diablo Dam, at the time world's highest, on August 27, 1930.

On August 27, 1930, Seattle City Light dedicates Diablo Dam. Diablo Dam, at 389 feet the world's highest dam at the time, is located in southeast Whatcom County along the Skagit River.
File 5535: Full Text >

Seattle Mayor Frank Edwards fires City Light Superintendent James D. Ross on March 9, 1931.

On March 9, 1931, Mayor Frank E. Edwards fires Seattle City Light Superintendent James D. "J.D." Ross (1872-1939) for "inefficiency, disloyalty and willful neglect of duty" (Sparks). The announcement comes on the eve of City Council elections and a ballot measure giving City Light control over its own construction projects. The ballot measure passes and pro-City Light council members win election. Mayor Edwards will be recalled from office.
File 3547: Full Text >

Voters recall Mayor Frank Edwards from office for firing City Light Superintendent J. D. Ross on July 13, 1931.

On July 13, 1931, voters recall Mayor Frank E. Edwards from office for firing Seattle City Light Superintendent James D. "J.D." Ross (1872-1939). The vote is 125,000 to 15,000, reflecting Ross's popularity as well as suspicion of corporations seeking to control electric power. Through the rest of the decade, politicians' positions on public power became a litmus test for winning office.
File 3548: Full Text >

Federal Theatre Project's Power opens in Seattle on July 6, 1937.

On July 6, 1937, the Seattle unit of the WPA-sponsored Federal Theatre Project presents the opening night of Power, written by Arthur Arent and directed by Florence James. Co-sponsored by Seattle City Light and performed at the Metropolitan Theatre, the play examines "the history, use, abuse and control of power" (Flanagan, 306). The play lobs missiles in the controversy currently raging over municipal and private ownership of electrical power. Performances sell out amid vast publicity and excitement, and elicit denunciations from the Seattle Post-Intelligencer and The Seattle Times.
File 3977: Full Text >

Eugene R. Hoffman becomes superintendent of Seattle City Light on May 10, 1939.

On May 10, 1939, the Seattle City Council confirms Eugene R. Hoffman (d. 1976) as Superintendent of Lighting to succeed James D. "J. D." Ross (1872-1939). Hoffman will lead the utility through World War II, the completion of Ross Dam, the post-war boom, and the acquisition of Puget Sound Power & Light's system in Seattle.
File 3618: Full Text >

KOL Radio broadcasts The Romance of Power live from the Skagit River on August 19, 1939.

On August 19, 1939, at 5:00 p.m., Seattle radio station KOL broadcasts The Romance of Power coast-to-coast, live from Seattle City Light's Skagit River hydro-electric project. The half-hour program, which features interviews with City Light managers, dramatizes hydro-electric power and the awe-inspiring surroundings of the dam. The production is designed by the Mutual Broadcasting System as a memorial to Seattle City Light Superintendent James Delmage ("J.D.") Ross (1872-1939) who had died a few months earlier. The script for the show reveals details of producing a radio show from a remote natural setting and the obstacles to be overcome in a time before microwaves and satellite cameras.
File 2895: Full Text >

Seattle City Light completes Ross Dam on August 18, 1949.

On August 18, 1949, the third stage of Ross Dam, located in southeast Whatcom County on the Skagit River, is completed. 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.
File 5515: Full Text >

Seattle voters approve City Light purchase of Puget Power assets within city limits on November 7, 1950.

On November 7, 1950, Seattle voters narrowly approve City Light's acquisition of Puget Power's assets within the city limits at a cost of $27.8 million. The referendum passes by a scant 754 votes out of a total of 130,000 cast, and ends a half-century power struggle between the two utilities.
File 2768: Full Text >

Paul Raver becomes superintendent of Seattle City Light on January 15, 1954.

On January 15, 1954, Paul J. Raver (1894-1963) becomes superintendent of Seattle City Light. Under Raver, the utility will double the amount of power delivered, build Gorge High Dam, complete the Ross power plant, and improve the Diablo power plant.
File 3619: Full Text >

Seattle City Light completes Gorge High Dam on January 6, 1961.

On January 6, 1961, Seattle City Light completes Gorge High Dam on the upper Skagit River, in southeast Whatcom County. The dam is 300 feet high. The combination gravity-arch concrete structure diverts water to a tunnel, which connects to a powerhouse two miles downstream.
File 2531: Full Text >

John M. Nelson becomes superintendent of Seattle City Light on May 4, 1963.

On May 4, 1963, John M. Nelson (1908-1974) becomes superintendent of Seattle City Light when his appointment is confirmed by the City Council. Nelson will lead the City Light in its last years of unrestricted load growth and construction into an era when elected officials reassert control over the public utility. He will retire in 1972 after Mayor Wes Uhlman blocks plans to raise Ross Dam.
File 3620: Full Text >

First commercial electricity from Boundary Dam reaches Seattle on September 1, 1967.

On September 1, 1967, the first commercial electricity from Seattle City Light's new Boundary Dam arrives in Seattle. The thin-arch, concrete dam sits in Box Canyon on the Pend Oreille River in northeastern Washington. Its four generators produce 600,000 kilowatts of current, more than any other powerhouse on the City Light system.
File 2861: Full Text >

Seattle City Light approved to purchase Kiket Island for a proposed nuclear power plant on June 30, 1969.

On June 30, 1969, Seattle City Council approves City Light's request to purchase Kiket Island at Deception Pass (located 70 miles north of Seattle) as a site for a $250 million nuclear power plant. Council member Tim Hill (b. 1936) casts the only dissenting vote. The plan will be dropped in 1972 due to environmental concerns.
File 1249: Full Text >

< Show previous 20 | Show Next 20 >

Showing 1 - 7 of 7 results

A Seattle City Light employee describes the early days.

This file contains an undated, unsigned letter describing what it was like working at Seattle City Light in the early years, around 1910. The letter is held in the Seattle Municipal Archives. It describes a time when employees took a personal interest in developing the publicly owned City Light, much as if it was their own business.
File 2885: Full Text >

Bennie Paris recalls 39 years at Seattle City Light

Bennie Paris worked for City Light for 39 years, beginning as a clerk in September 1956 and (with about three years out to have children) retiring as Senior Finance Analyst in January 1998. This file contains her reminiscences, including memories of the days of discrimination against women, as well as the fun and family-like feeling of working for Seattle's publicly owned utility.
File 2893: Full Text >

Bill Newby and Seattle City Light's Skagit Hydroelectric Project, 1935-1996

Bill Newby (b. 1935) was born in the Seattle City Light community of Newhalem on the Skagit River. He worked for City Light starting in 1955 as a laborer, digging ditches. He retired in 1996 as Director of Operations on the Skagit River hydroelectric project, responsible for three dams, four power houses, and two communities. In this interview conducted by David Wilma for HistoryLink in January 2001, Bill Newby recalls life in Newhalem and on the Skagit Project.
File 2963: Full Text >

Frank Fitts: An episode in his life that led him to be a dedicated Public Power Advocate

Frank Fitts (1884-1967) grew up in Seattle at the turn of the twentieth century. He was a founder of the Phinney Ridge Improvement Association which worked to extend electrical service in Seattle's North End. He was an early member of Friends of City Light, organized by James Delmage "J.D." Ross (1872-1939) to support municipal ownership of Seattle's electrical utility. After the recall of Mayor Frank Edwards in 1931, Fitts became a Seattle City Councilman. He later worked for the Bonneville Power Administration. In 1963, he typed this account of how he first met and became a life-long advocate of public power and Seattle City Light.
File 2902: Full Text >

Mementos of a Seattle City Light Skagit River tour

Beginning in the 1920s, Seattle City Light offered tours of its hydroelectric dams on the Skagit River to promote public support of the project. This file contains mementos (a sketch, a program, a tour pass) of a visit by the Women's City Club of Seattle on May 16, 1929. City Light Superintendent J. D. Ross (1872-1939) and City Councilman Otto A. Case personally escorted the excursionists over the project.
File 2894: Full Text >

Pat Maloney describes the perils of reading meters for Seattle City Light in the 1950s

In September 1953, Meter Reader Pat Maloney described one of his experiences recording Seattle City Light customers' electricity useage.
File 3614: Full Text >

Working on a Seattle City Light Line Crew, 1949-1973

Walt Sickler (b. 1927) worked for Seattle City Light for 40 years. In 1989, he retired as the Director of Operations, in charge of all the dams, power transmission systems, and shops. His first job was on a line crew and in this interview conducted by HistoryLink's David Wilma, he recalls those years.
File 2929: Full Text >

< Show previous 20 | Show Next 20 >
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