Hydro-power and the Pacific Northwest: The Louis E. Rydell Papers

Louis Rydell at Cushman Dam #2 outside of Tacoma, WA, 1929. Louis Rydell papers, Box 14..

Louis Ernest Rydell (b. 1899) was a civil engineer whose work included the planning of river basins for development of hydro-electric power, flood control, navigation, and irrigation, both in government work and with private firms.

Much of his work has been the planning of large dams, including site selection, investigation, preliminary design, cost, and economic feasibility studies and reports.  Rydell worked for the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers from 1934-1959.  From 1935-1948 he directed the project planning phase for the Willamette Basin Project in Oregon.  From 1948-1959 he was Chief of Planning and Reports in the Walla Walla, Washington district, during which he worked on plans and studies for the Columbia and Snake River basins.  From 1955-1959 he was assigned by the U.S. State Department as a flood control advisor to Ireland on the Shannon River.

A river excursion for visiting engineers during the International Irrigation Study, a conference held in Tokyo, Japan. May 1963. Louis Rydell papers, Box 14.

From 1959-1965 he was a consultant with Harza Engineering Company and supervised planning studies on the Indus River Basin in Pakistan.  From 1966 until his death, he worked as a private consultant for the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers in the Ohio River Basin, TAMS in Brazil, and the Montreal Engineering Company in Iran and Guyana.

The Louis E. Rydell collection contains files related to various projects on which Rydell worked, including projects in Brazil, Guyana, Iran, and Pakistan.  Also present are U.S. Army Corps of Engineers reports on water resource development projects in the United States West, particularly in the Willamette and Columbia River basins.  Rydell’s papers also contain a large number of subject files relating to dams, hydraulics, and flood control.  Also Researchers using the collection will also find articles written by Rydell as well as photographs of Rydell in activities related to his professional career.

If you would like to look at the new online inventory for the Rydell papers, you’ll find it here.

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One Response to Hydro-power and the Pacific Northwest: The Louis E. Rydell Papers

  1. Ruth Nordstrom Zufelt says:

    Louis E. Rydell was my father’s cousin and was responsible for my father becoming an American Citizen the correct way. This is awesome to see just how famous my distant relative was and how much of an impact he had on our wonderful country.

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