Lighting Design Lab Newsletters, 1990-2018

Overview of the Collection

Seattle City Light
Lighting Design Lab Newsletters
1990-2018 (inclusive)
0.2 cubic feet, (1 box. )
Collection Number
Newsletters from the Lighting Design Lab. The newsletters provide information about the lab, such as event schedules, news updates regarding technology developments in associated fields, and class schedules that were taught at the lab or at other lab locations across the Pacific Northwest.
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

Opened on December 11th, 1989, the Lighting Design Lab was created to further developments in energy efficiency, technology control, and to provide lighting quality for designers and users of lighting systems. The Lab was a cooperative effort between the Bonneville Power Administration (BPA), Northwest utilities, regional and national energy, and environmental groups.

The Lighting Lab was originally housed at 400 E Pine Street Seattle, WA in Suite 100. The lab space consisted of different spaces and rooms such as meeting rooms, classrooms, retail displays, and reception areas. The Lab staff members utilized the space to work with businesses, organizations, and clients from across the Pacific Northwest to develop lighting systems best suited for their projects.

This collection contains newsletters from The Lighting Lab ranging from Winter 1990 to Fall 2018. The newsletters provide information about the lab, such as event schedules, news updates regarding technology developments in associated fields, and class schedules that were taught at the lab or at other lab locations across the Pacific Northwest.

Use of the CollectionReturn to Top

Preferred Citation

[Item and date], Lighting Design Lab Newsletters, Record Series 1212-01. 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 Lighting Lab Newsletters Winter 1990-Fall 1995 1990-1995
1 2 Lighting Lab Newsletters Winter 1996-Fall 1999 1996-1999
1 3 Lighting Lab Newsletter Winter/Spring 2001-Fall 2010 2001-2010
1 4 Lighting Lab Newsletters Spring 2011-Fall 2018 2011-2018

Names and SubjectsReturn to Top

Subject Terms

  • Electric lighting--Washington (State)--Seattle

Corporate Names

  • Seattle City Light

Geographical Names

  • Seattle (Wash.)