Shoshone Powerplant 1908

By  Tammy Gemaehlich

The beginning

The town of Glenwood Springs had built a small hydroelectric plant in 1886 to serve its citizens but, when Colorado Power and Irrigation Company organized in 1903, it launched a larger effort to furnish electrical power — from Leadville to Grand Junction — by building a large-scale hydroelectric plant on the Grand River in Glenwood Canyon.

The Electric and Hydraulic Company (aka Central Colorado Power Co.) later formed and took over the Colorado Power and Irrigation Company, keeping alive its hydroelectric plant idea. Construction began in the fall of 1906 and involved building the main plant, a water diversion tunnel, a diversion dam and a power transmission line.

The Palisade Tribune reported that “The big Shoshone power plant being created just east of Glenwood Springs means so much to this valley and the entire Western Slope. Land that is now high and dry and thought impossible to water will be irrigated by electric power and thousands of acres in this valley will be made to ‘blossom as the rose.’ ”