Corps to fete 50th year of Ice Harbor Dam

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BURBANK - The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers on June 16 will celebrate the 50th anniversary of the inauguration of Ice Harbor Dam with a commemoration and open house.

Events will begin at 10 a.m. at the western Walla Walla County dam near Burbank on the Snake River.

In preparation of its 50th anniversary, the Corps has posted a photo album of Ice Harbor's construction at on.fb.me/J389tH.

The dam was authorized by the Rivers and Harbors Act of 1945. It is one of several built on the Lower Snake River to generate hydroelectric power, facilitate navigation and provide irrigation and recreation.

Building costs for the dam, navigation lock, fish ladders, powerhouse and six generating units were about $217 million, according to the Corps.

Construction, including its first three hydropower generators, began in January 1956.

Ice Harbor was dedicated on May 9, 1962, by then-Vice President Lyndon B. Johnson.

Its name comes from a small cove about 500 yards upriver from the dam.

The cove did not freeze during winter, and during the 1860s and 1870s riverboats would winter there until ice jams broke up.

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