When completed in 1888 to a height of 90 feet, Sweetwater Dam was once the tallest masonry arch dam in the United States, and it led to many others of the same basic design. The original construction began in November 1886 under the direction of Frank E. Brown (civil engineer for Bear Valley Dam) with the rubble-masonry thin-arch design being 50 feet in height. Subsequently, the owner of the water system called upon civil engineer James D. Schuyler to continue and complete the project. Although the field of hydrology was very new and not fully understood at the time, Mr.
The massive Grand Coulee Dam, on the Columbia River, is the largest concrete structure in the U.S., the largest hydroelectric facility in the U.S., and the sixth-largest hydroelectric facility in the world. It provides irrigation for up to 1.1 million acres of agricultural lands and the hydroelectric complex maintains a generating capacity of 6.8 million kilowatts. It also serves as the primary flood control for the Columbia River basin (with a capacity of 5.18 million acre-feet of water) and provides recreational opportunities on the 150-mile-long Franklin D. Roosevelt Lake.