Tacoma Power celebrates LaGrande Powerhouse centennial

A century ago, Tacoma Power began generating power at the LaGrande Powerhouse, its first hydroelectric facility. The community is invited to celebrate 100 years of green, renewable power at the Nisqually River Project from 1 p.m. to 3 p.m. on Fri., Aug. 10. Community members who attend the event will be entered in a drawing for a tour of the 100-year-old powerhouse, where the original turbines still generate power today. The event will also feature interactive displays, facility tours and food.

Tacoma finished the LaGrande Powerhouse in 1912 amidst controversy. The city wanted independence from the private companies that supplied power to Tacoma. Stone & Webster, the Boston company that provided service, raised its rates and shut off power to the city’s water pumps prior to the completion of the project. Tacoma voters approved a $2.3 million bond measure in 1909 to build the LaGrande Powerhouse. Tacoma Power began construction in 1910, and completed it in 1912. The Tacoma Times reported in June 1915 that the project had already earned more than $1.25 million. Although modified, the original turbines in the LaGrande Powerhouse still operate today.

The event will take place at 46502 Mountain Highway East in LaGrande. More information is online here.