Bonneville Lock & Dam, built and operated by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, was the first federal lock and dam on the Columbia and Snake rivers. The project’s first powerhouse, spillway and original navigation lock were completed in 1938 to improve navigation on Columbia River and provide hydropower to the Pacific Northwest. A second powerhouse was completed in 1981, and a larger navigation lock in 1993.
Today, the project is a critical part of the water resource management system that provides flood risk management, power generation, water quality improvement, irrigation, fish and wildlife habitat and recreation along the Columbia River.
A Public Works Administration project of President Franklin D. Roosevelt’s New Deal, portions of Bonneville Lock and Dam Project were declared a National Historic Landmark in 1987.
National Historic Landmark
Bonneville’s significance is based on the Colonial-Revival style architecture of the administration building and auditorium, the unique engineering design, the contribution to the region’s industrial development, the lock’s role in transportation, the entrance landscaping, and the role of Bonneville as a major government undertaking in the 1930s to provide jobs during the Great Depression.
Bonneville Lock and Dam is named for Army Captain Benjamin Bonneville, an early day visionary who led an exploration to the Oregon Country and charted extensive sections of what became the Oregon Trail.
From Bonneville Dam Website