We were on our way back from Leavenworth along US Highway 2 when we stumbled upon the Tumwater Dam Hydroelectric Project. Actually we heard the ferocious roar of the waters before we saw it crashing down from over 20 feet high. The source of the watercourse – The Wenatchee State Park.
Constructed from 1907- 09 at a cost of US100,000, it was the largest hydroelectric dam west of Niagara Falls at that time. Almost a mile long, the dam was built by the Great Northern Railway Company to power locomotives transporting people and cargo across the Cascade Mountain Range.
The hydroelectric plant was eventually deactivated and generating facilities removed in 1956 when the locomotives converted to diesel engines.
Today, the dam is equipped with fish passage to help adult salmon and steelhead return to their spawning grounds.