by Brian Zylstra | April 27th, 2012
(Photo courtesy of Washington State Library)
The third and final contender this month is the collection of Asahel Curtis negatives of Grand Coulee Dam. This collection consists of about 40 glass photographic negatives taken by Curtis for the Columbia Basin Commission. The majority of the negatives are black and white but there are a few color negatives in the group. The black-and-white negatives are of sites around the dam during its construction
From the State Library’s notes about this collection:
“As early as 1918, settlers in the central Washington area dreamed of a big dam that could be used to irrigate their lands. The Columbia Basin Survey Commission was the first organization to study the conceivability of a dam on the Columbia River. In 1919 the Washington State Legislature created the Columbia Basin Survey Commission and appropriated $100,000 for its work. In 1933 the state legislature created the Columbia Basin Commission to replace the Survey Commission and to secure the construction of the Columbia Basin Project. In 1935 the Grand Coulee Dam was adopted and approved by Congress and by 1941 the Dam had been completed and began to generate electricity. The Columbia Basin Commission was reconstituted by the State Legislature in 1943 to enable the state to take a more active role in the development of the land and irrigation projects incidental to the completion of the dam. The Commission continued until 1967 when it and its parent agency became defunct.”
PBS recently featured the building of Grand Coulee Dam on “American Experience.”
We’ll do a blog post early next week that features the online poll about these jewels, so make sure to vote for your favorite!