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Cascade Dam


Cascade Dam
Completed: 1901, removed 1922
Operator: Cascade Power and Light Co. Ltd / West Kootenay Power & Light
Type: Run of the River gravity dam


The Boundary Region was the scene of substantial mining and smelting interests at the turn of the 20th Century and electricity was in high demand. With $500,000 dollars to invest in construction the Cascade Power and Light Company Ltd. was incorporated in November 1896 and construction of the dam began on the Cascade Gorge on the Kettle River in 1898. The project was completed in 1901 after substantial delays and began supplying power throughout the Boundary Region.

The dam was constructed at the head of the gorge. The wooden crib work was filled with 10,000 cubic (7,645 cubic meters) yards of rock. The dam was 400 feet (120 meters) long and 40 feet (12 meters) wide at the base tapering to 24 feet (7 meters) wide at the top. The water was diverted from the river into a tunnel through the rock to the penstocks which brought the water to the powerhouse.

Power from the plant was used in Grand Forks to supplement the power needed by the Granby Smelter, the communities of Grand Forks, Greenwood and Phoenix and mines and mills in the area. It was plagued with water shortages and icing problems in the winter, so a transmission line from the Lower Bonnington Plant on the Kootenay River was brought to the area to supplement the power. The intrusion of the West Kootenay Power and Light Co. was not taken well and the transmission was held up by court cases and hearings for a few years. Under the name South Kootenay Power, who had transmission rights for the Boundary, the power generated on the Kootenay River began delivery of electricity to the region in 1906.

In 1907 the dam and power plant was purchased by West Kootenay Power and was closed in 1910. The dam was dismantled in 1922. The powerhouse remained at the base of the canyon until the heavy snow of the winter of 1997 brought the roof down.

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Cascade Dam

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