- Seattle City Light
- Seattle City Light Negatives
- 1914-1995 (inclusive)19141995
- 150,000 images
- Collection Number
- Photographic negatives documenting the development of Seattle's public electric utility.
- Seattle Municipal Archives
Seattle Municipal Archives
Office of the City Clerk
City of Seattle
PO Box 94728
- 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 project, which began supplying power 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 northeastern Washington began operations in 1967 and supplied over half of City Light's power generation. By the early 21st century, approximately ten percent of City Light's income came from the sale of surplus energy to customers in the Northwest and Southwest with the remainder of City Light's financial support coming from customer revenue. The current name of the agency was adopted in 1978 when the Department was reorganized.
Content DescriptionReturn to Top
Photographic negatives documenting the development of Seattle's public electric utility. Includes photos of dam construction in the Cedar River Watershed and the Skagit, and the Boundary Project; transmission lines, substations; City Light facilities; and employees. The largest groups of images relate to Boundary Dam, Gorge High Dam, and Ross Dam. Other generating facilities depicted are Cedar Falls, Diablo Dam, Lake Union and Georgetown Steam plants, and the Newhalem hydroelectric plant. 23,637 images have been scanned and are available for download on our digital platform. View 1204-01 online
Support for the scanning, cataloging, and indexing of 8,000 negatives related to the construction of Boundary Dam was provided by the Seattle City Light Environmental Affairs and Real Estate Division.
Use of the CollectionReturn to Top
[Title of image, date. Item number.] Seattle City Light Negatives, Record Series 1204-01. Box [number], Folder [number]. Seattle Municipal Archives.
Administrative InformationReturn to Top
Names and SubjectsReturn to Top
- Cedar Falls Power Plant (Wash.)
- Cedar River Watershed (King County, Wash.)
- Diablo Dam (Wash.)
- Electric power--Washington (State)--Seattle
- Electric heating--Washington (State)--Seattle
- Electric lighting--Washington (State)--Seattle
- Electric utilities--Washington (State)--Seattle
- Gorge Dam (Wash.)
- Ross Dam (Wash.)
- Water-power--Washington (State)--Seattle
- Seattle (Wash.). Dept. of Lighting
- Seattle City Light
- Newhalem (Wash.)
- Seattle (Wash.)
- Skagit River (B.C. and Wash.)
Form or Genre Terms