Bonneville Dam

Dam and Lock


Bonneville Dam

Faraway view from Buck Point

Photo taken by K. A. Erickson on July 30, 2009




Built in the 1930s by the Federal government to raise and divert the Columbia River to generate hydroelectric power, the dam represented a unique engineering challenge for a diversion/overflow dam; it was the first major structure built with a "hydraulic drop" capable of developing more than 500,000 KW of electric power. Other structures in the district are the #1 Powerhouse, the Navigation Lock, the Fishways, and the Fish Hatchery. -- National Historic Landmark statement of significance, June 30, 1987

National Register information 

Posted to the National Register of Historic Places on April 9, 1986
Reference number
NR name
Bonneville Dam Historic District
Architectural style
Other architectural type; Ogee Crest Dam
Areas of significance
Industry; Landscape Architecture; Engineering; Transportation; Politics/Government; Architecture
Level of significance
Evaluation criteria
A - Event; C - Design/Construction
Property type
Historic functions
Water-related; Energy facility; Auditorium; Public works; Government office
Current functions
Auditorium; Energy facility; Public works; Water-related; Government office
Period of significance
Significant years
1934; 1938
Number of properties
Contributing buildings: 3
Contributing structures: 3

Update Log 

  • April 24, 2018: New photos from Richard Doody
  • July 15, 2010: Added by K. A. Erickson