Coulee Dam is one of the wonders of the world, irrigating a semi-desert area almost as large as the State of Connecticut and generating electric current to the extent of 2,520,000 horsepower. The dam is designed to halt the full flood of the mighty Columbia, which drains most of the northwest, back it up into a vast artificial lake 151 miles long, and regulate its flow for 450 miles to the Pacific. Over the giant spillway plunges a roaring cataract, three times the height of Niagara Falls and several times its volume. By means of the mightiest pumping system yet devised, enough water will be elevated in a vertical lift of 280 feet to fill and keep filled the Grand Coulee Equalizing Reservoir, some 30 miles long and several miles wide. From this second man-made lake, canals as long as 100 miles carry water to the rich volcanic soil of three counties.
This prodigious project was begun in 1933 and in 1937 employed about 6,500 persons; some five hundred thousand visitors had watched construction of the dam by the completion date in 1941.