Seattle City Light Lake Union Steam Plant Construction Photograph Album, 1914

Overview of the Collection

Seattle City Light
Seattle City Light Lake Union Steam Plant Construction Photograph Album
1914 (inclusive)
.4 cubic feet, (1 volume)
Collection Number
Black and white photographs of the construction of City Light's steam plant on Lake Union in 1914.
Seattle Municipal Archives
Seattle Municipal Archives
Office of the City Clerk
City of Seattle
PO Box 94728
Seattle, WA
Telephone: 2062337807
Fax: 2063869025
Access Restrictions

Records are open to the public.


Historical NoteReturn to Top

Seattle City Light provides electricity and electrical and conservation services to its public and private customers. It is the largest public utility in the Pacific Northwest. Public responsibility for electrical energy dates to 1890 with creation of the Department of Lighting and Water Works. In 1902, Seattle voters passed a bond issue to develop hydroelectric power on the Cedar River under the administration of the Water Department. Electricity from this development began to serve Seattle in 1905. A City Charter amendment in 1910 created the Lighting Department. Under the leadership of Superintendent James D. Ross, the department developed the Skagit River hydroelectric power project, which began supplying power to Seattle in 1924. Both public and private power were supplied to Seattle until 1951 when the City purchased the private electrical power supply operations, making the Lighting Department the sole supplier. The Boundary Project in northern Washington began operation in 1967 and currently supplies over half of City Light's power generation. Approximately ten percent of City Light's income comes from the sale of surplus energy to customers in the Northwest and Southwest. The current name of the agency was adopted in 1978 when the Department was reorganized.

Content DescriptionReturn to Top

Black and white photographs of the construction of City Light's steam plant on Lake Union in 1914. The City approved purchase of the land and money for construction of the plant in 1913 and construction began in 1914, finishing in 1917. Additions were made in 1918 and 1921. The plant was decommissioned in 1987 and sold in 1990. The album includes construction, people working, machinery, and Lake Union and the surrounding area, including houseboats.

To view a small selection of scanned negatives from this album search "1204-17" in the Photograph Index.

Use of the CollectionReturn to Top

Preferred Citation

Lake Union Steam Plant Construction Photograph Album, Record Series 1204-17. Box [number], Folder [number]. Seattle Municipal Archives.

Administrative InformationReturn to Top

Related Materials

88 scanned negatives spanning 1917-1924, not represented in this album, are viewable in the Photograph Index. Search "Lake Union Steam Plant Construction".

Names and SubjectsReturn to Top

Subject Terms

  • Electric heating--Washington (State)--Seattle
  • Electric lighting--Washington (State)--Seattle
  • Electric utilities--Washington (State)--Seattle
  • Electric power--Washington (State)--Seattle
  • Lake Union Steam Plant--Washington (State)--Seattle
  • Water-power--Washington (State)--Seattle

Corporate Names

  • Seattle (Wash.). Dept. of Lighting
  • Seattle City Light

Geographical Names

  • Seattle (Wash.)
  • Skagit River (B.C. and Wash.)