During the Great Depression, the federal government built Grand Coulee Dam, a massive concrete dam in the state of Washington. The dam produces electricity and is part of the irrigation network in central Washington. While water in the American West and post-World War Two metropolitan development have both been extensively studied, Grand Coulee’s role in developing the Pacific Northwest through cheap electricity has been overlooked. This Independent Study draws on existing scholarship, population figures, advertisements, and other documents to demonstrate that Grand Coulee Dam was vital to the development of the Pacific Northwest. Furthermore, the federal government and its contractors, having never built anything on a scale like Grand Coulee before, worked their way through many engineering challenges. The Grand Coulee Dam, as the country’s largest power plant by generating capacity, continues to influence development in the Pacific Northwest.


Roche, Jeff




Electricity, Dam, Grand Coulee

Publication Date


Degree Granted

Bachelor of Arts

Document Type

Senior Independent Study Thesis



© Copyright 2018 Stephen Lumetta