Workers on giant turbine being lowered into Bonneville Dam (1937).

Workers on giant turbine being lowered into Bonneville Dam (1937).

Army Corps of Engineers

Each week Oregon Experience shares a photo highlighting the state’s diverse, exciting history.

In the 1930s, the Army Corps of Engineers began construction on the Bonneville Dam. The dam began generating electricity in 1938 and was one of the country’s most successful Depression era achievements. Professional photographers were hired to document construction of the dam. Beyond accurately documenting an engineering feat that would forever change the face of the Columbia River, many of these photos proved to be fascinating, even beautiful examples of the photography of the era.

Watch the Oregon Experience documentary “The River They Saw” to learn more about Bonneville Dam’s impact on the Columbia River and the photographers who captured the river before and after.

The River They Saw