Seattle City Light Communications and Public Affairs Division Digital Photographs, 2007

Overview of the Collection

Seattle City Light
Seattle City Light Communications and Public Affairs Division Digital Photographs
2007 (inclusive)
296 digital image files
Collection Number
Digital images of Seattle City Light including personnel, elected and appointed officials, hydroelectric facilities, solar energy, and public events.
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 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

Contents include images of Seattle City Light personnel, elected and appointed officials, hydroelectric facilities, solar energy and other energy resources, and public events. Images of hydroelectric facilities include Diablo, Boundary, and Ross Dams. Also, this collection includes scenic images of Skagit and surrounding areas. Subject matter also includes celebration of students who participated in "Utility U," a partnership between the City of Seattle (SCL and SPU) and Seattle Public Schools that teaches utility operations to alternative high-school students and provides them an opportunity to explore different career paths. Material also includes images of City Light assets such as transformers, utility poles, and cables and other assets included by the agency in Annual Reports. City Light Advisory Board meetings and the City Light Centennial Celebration at City Hall are also featured. All images can be viewed on our digital platform. View 1204-09 online

Use of the CollectionReturn to Top

Preferred Citation

[Item Number], Seattle City Light Communications and Public Affairs Digital Photograph Collection , Record Series 1204-19. Seattle Municipal Archives.

Administrative InformationReturn to Top

Acquisition Information

Photographs acquired through the Seattle Municipal Archives Digital Image Management Program.

Future Additions

This series may grow due to continued accessioning through the Digital Image Management Program. This finding aid will be updated to reflect additional accessions.

Names and SubjectsReturn to Top

Subject Terms

  • Elected officials--Washington (State)--Seattle
  • Electric power--Washington (State)--Seattle
  • Hydroelectric power plants--Washington (State)--Seattle

Corporate Names

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

Geographical Names

  • Seattle (Wash.)