Home Page This Department
Seattle City Clerk's Home Page Seattle City Clerk's Home Page Seattle City Clerk's About Us Page Seattle City Clerk's Contact Us Page
Online Information Resources
Search Collections Exhibits and Education Seattle Facts About the Archives

A City at Work - Home
History Overview
Water System
City Light
Parks & Recreation
Other City Services
Elected Officials
Using the Photograph Collection
Return to Online Exhibits Home

A City at Work: Images from the Seattle Municipal Archives Photo Collection

Seattle City Light

Seattle's foray into electricity generation began with an opportunity, an existing dam at the Cedar River that could be used to generate power, and a need, cheap electricity to power street lights in a rapidly growing city. Although originally part of the water utility, voters amended the City Charter in 1910 to create the Lighting Department (popularly and now officially referred to as Seattle City Light). Under the leadership of Superintendent J.D. Ross, City Light built hydroelectric dams on the Skagit in the North Cascades. Both public and private power was supplied to Seattle until 1951 when the City purchased the private electrical power supply operations, making the Lighting Department the sole supplier. In the 1960's, City Light built the Boundary Dam in Northeast Washington that now generates over a third of the utility's power output. City Light remains the largest municipally-owned utility in the Pacific Northwest.

Power Generation
Power Generation
Power Delivery
Power Delivery

Power Generation -->