- Chattanooga, TN
- Site Type:
- Parks and Recreation, Infrastructure and Utilities, Lakes and Ponds, Electricity, Dams
- New Deal Agencies:
- Conservation and Public Lands, Federal & Military Operations, Tennessee Valley Authority (TVA), Army Corps of Engineers
Chickamauga Dam is located on the Tennessee River in south-central Tennessee just east of downtown Chattanooga. Construction began in 1936 as a part of Tennessee Valley Authority’s area improvements and was completed in 1940. Before the dam’s construction, the city of Chattanooga often experienced major flooding.
The dam provides hydroelectric power to the area and creates Chickamauga Lake, which is used for recreation and a wildlife reserve. Two segregated recreation areas- Booker T. Washington State Park and Harrison Bay State Park- were also created with the construction of the dam and lake.
“When the Tennessee Valley Authority was formed in the mid-1930s, it assumed control of navigation and flood control operations in the Tennessee Valley. After extensive surveying, TVA chose the tip of Chickamauga Island over several other sites surveyed by the Army Corps in the vicinity. The Chickamauga project was authorized December 31, 1935, and dam construction began January 13, 1936.
The construction of Chickamauga Dam and its reservoir required the purchase of 61,350 acres (24,830 ha) of land, 6,030 acres (2,440 ha) of which were wooded and had to be cleared. 903 families, 24 cemeteries, and 81 miles (130 km) of roads had to be relocated. The navigation lock at Chickamauga Dam was designed by the Army Corps of Engineers, and was based on the lock design at Guntersville Dam. The lock was initially 60 by 360 feet (18 m × 110 m), although the dam was designed in a way that allowed a larger 110 by 600 feet (34 m × 183 m) lock to be installed if increases in river traffic ever required it.
Chickamauga Dam was completed and its gates closed on January 15, 1940, constructed at a cost of $42,065,000. The lock was placed into operation on February 26, 1940, and the first generator went online May 4, 1940. Two recreational areas— Booker T. Washington State Park and Harrison Bay State Park— were developed as segregated parks along Chickamauga Lake’s shores, with the former originally being for African-Americans and the latter originally being for Caucasians.”
Site originally submitted by Clara Bondi on November 6, 2014.
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