Skagit Tour Records, 1911-1942

Overview of the Collection

Seattle City Light
Skagit Tour Records
1911-1942 (inclusive)
1929-1942 (bulk)
0.8 cubic feet
Collection Number
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

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 back to 1890 with creation of the Department of Lighting and Water Works. The formulation of this public utility stemmed from fear of monopolization by private companies and was reinforced by the inadequacy of those companies during the Great Fire of 1889. Unable to gain access to private water, much of the business district was burned to the ground. Citizens responded eagerly to the idea of publicly owned water and electricity, which was later encouraged as part of President Roosevelt's New Deal in the 1930s.

In 1902, Seattle voters passed a bond issue to develop hydroelectric power on the Cedar River under the administration of the Water Department. This was the nation's first municipally owned hydroelectric project. Electricity from this development began to serve customers in Seattle in 1905. A City Charter amendment in 1910 created the Lighting Department, making it a full member of the City's Board of Public Works. Under the leadership of Superintendent James D. Ross, the department developed the Skagit River hydroelectric project which began supplying power in 1924 with the completion of the Gorge Dam.

Both public and private power was supplied to Seattle until 1951 when the City purchased the local private electrical power company, the Puget Sound Power and Light Company, 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. As a municipally owned public power system, Seattle City Light is governed by elected Seattle officials. Administrative authority rests with the Superintendent and an executive team that includes the department's Chief of Staff, Service and Energy Delivery Officer, Human Resources Officer, Power Supply and Environmental Affairs Officer, and Chief Financial Officer. City Light is responsible for electrical service and streetlight service, streetlight problems, and also conservation, both residential and commercial/industrial.

City Light provides low-cost, reliable, and environmentally responsible electric power to approximately 395,000 customers in Seattle and neighboring areas, including Burien, Lake Forest Park, Normandy Park, Renton, SeaTac, Shoreline, Tukwila, and unincorporated King County. It is the ninth-largest public power system in the United States and has the lowest rates among comparably sized cities in the United States.

Content DescriptionReturn to Top

Records of City Light's Skagit Project Tours from Rockport to Diablo Dam including brochures, excursion reservation forms, correspondences (private, groups, and clubs), tour itineraries, tour write-ups, trip narratives, visitor's lists and impressions, tour music, Newhalem trail and list of trees and shrubs. Also includes documents also pertaining to tour accounting, classification, work orders, employee positions and duties, purchases and annual reports, and files from Edward M. Kemoe, City Light manager in charge of Skagit Tours. Of note is Superintendent J.D. Ross' essay on "Public Ownership" and Ellen Larson's Skagit poem.

Use of the CollectionReturn to Top

Preferred Citation

[Item and date], Skagit Tour Records, Record Series 1208-01 Box [number], Folder [number]. Seattle Municipal Archives.

Administrative InformationReturn to Top

Detailed Description of the CollectionReturn to Top

Container(s) Description Dates
Box Folder
1 1 Mailing Lists / Requests for Information / Correspondences 1939-1941
1 2 Skagit Tour Report / Visitor's List / Itinerary 1929
1 3 Skagit Tour Report / Excursion Reservations 1930
1 4 Skagit Tour Report / Excursion Reservations / Visitor's List 1931
1 5 Skagit Tour Report / Excursion Reservations 1932
1 6 Skagit Tour Report / Operations 1933-1939
1 7 Skagit Tour Report / Itinerary / Operations 1940
1 8 Skagit Tour Report / Correspondence / Itinerary / Operations 1941
1 9 Skagit Tours / Employment Positions and Duties 1939-1940
1 10 Skagit Trip for Automobile Club Magazine 1941
1 11 Standing Work Orders / Skagit Project 1940-1941
1 12 Skagit Trips / WWII / Suspended / Correspondence 1942
2 1 Cash Register 1935
2 2 Classification of Accounts / Department of Lighting 1941
2 3 Community Clubs 1938-1941
2 4 Tour Brochures 1935-1941
2 5 Maps / Mount Baker and Mount Rainer / Lake Washington Floating Bridge 1933-1940
2 6 Mt. Baker Forest / Boundary Essay / R.L. Fromme 1934
2 7 Public Ownership / Essay / Superintendent J. D. Ross 1936
2 8 Scenes at Cedar Falls 1911
2 9 Scenes at Skagit River / City Light in Seattle undated
2 10 Skagit Poem / "Day Unto Night" / Ellen Larson 1938-1939
2 11 Skagit Project Question and Answers undated
2 12 Skagit River Radio Broadcast 1939
2 13 Skagit Tour Project Miscellaneous undated
2 14 Skagit Tour Write-ups 1930-1941
2 15 Skagit Tour Records (phonographs) at Ladder Creek 1938
2 16 Skagit Trip Essay / O.K. Buck 1934
2 17 Skagit Visitors from Other States / Impressions 1933
2 18 Trees and Shrubs on Newhalem Trail undated
2 19 Commercial and Industrial Scenes undated
2 20 Emblem Designs 1912-1915
2 21 Plans / Sketches / Maps undated
2 22 Portraits of City Engineers undated
2 23 Signatures and Facsimiles 1917-1918
2 24 "Worms That Live In Snow and Ice" Article / Skagit File 1941
2 25 "Skagit Tour" - Album of colorized photographs 1936

Names and SubjectsReturn to Top

Subject Terms

  • Cedar Falls Power Plant (Wash.)
  • Mt. Baker-Snoqualmie National Forest (Agency : U.S.)
  • Music--Washington (State)--Seattle
  • Skagit River Railway

Personal Names

  • Buck, O.K.
  • Fromme, Rudo L.
  • Kemoe, Edward M.
  • Larson, Ellen
  • Ross, J. D. (James Delmage), 1872-1939

Corporate Names

  • Seattle City Light

Geographical Names

  • Newhalem
  • Seattle (Wash.)
  • Skagit River