Tuesday, November 10, 2015

The History of Bagnell Dam

The Lake of the Ozarks, one of the largest man-made lakes in the United States, wouldn't be here today if it weren't for Bagnell Dam. With a surface area of 55,000 acres, stretching 92 miles long, and more shoreline than the state of California, this lake brings in millions of dollars in tourism to Missouri each year. The Lake is what our Lake of the Ozarks boat lift business thrives on. Let's take a look into the past at how Bagnell Dam and the #1 Recreational Lake in the country was created!

Courtesy of the Missouri State Archives

Construction of the Bagnell Dam

It was the year 1912, when a Kansas City man by the name of Ralph W. Street first proposed damming the Osage River to generate electricity. It wasn't until 1924 that Mr. Street and Walter Cravens, also of Kansas City, arranged financing and formed the Missouri Hydro-Electric Power Company. Unfortunately, financial difficulties brought the project to a halt in 1926. Just a few years later on July 27, 1929, Union Electric Company of St. Louis (now known as Ameren Missouri) bought the facilities and on August 6 construction resumed. Construction continued throughout the Great Depression, attracting thousands of workers from all across the United States. More than 20,000 people worked on the project and while some steam shovels and other powered equipment was available, the majority of the labor was done by hand. They worked for as low as 35 cents an hour.  Construction was completed just two years after the work began. On October 16, 1931 commercial operation of the Osage Power Plant began.

Bagnell Dam Fun Facts 

The project was truly massive! Let's take a look at some interesting facts about the Bagnell Dam's construction.
Courtesy of the Missouri State Archives
  • Nearly 60,000 acres of land had to be acquired. 
  • About 30,000 acres of trees and brush were cleared. 
  • One million cubic yards of earth and rock had to be moved.
  • Enough concrete was poured to build an 18-foot-wide highway from St. Louis to Topeka, Kansas.
  • Enough carloads of material were used in the dam to fill a freight train stretching from St. Louis to Tulsa, Oklahoma.  
  • The dam is of concrete gravity type, 2,543 feet long.
  • Approximately 5,082 cubic yards of concrete were poured in a single day during the construction period.
  • The spillway section is equipped with twelve flood gates, each 34 feet wide by 23 feet high. 
  • Each flood gate weighs 27 tons. 
  • Each flood gate is capable of discharging 101,000 gallons of water per second.
  • The water impounded in the reservoir is enough to supply the daily needs of the city of St. Louis for more than 12 years. 
  • The dam supports a 20 foot wide roadway and a 3 foot wide sidewalk.
  • Union Electric created nearly 10,000 new jobs during the worst depression the United States had ever seen. 
  • The project was completed in 18 ½ months. 
  • The power station is 511 feet long and the flood control spillway section is 520 feet long.
  • The power plant produces 215,000 kilowatts of electricity, mainly to the eastern part of Missouri and St. Louis. 

Engineers proudly predicted the amount of electricity the Osage Power Plant would generate in future years, but no one dreamed of the millions of hours of recreation, the Lake of the Ozarks would provide for tourists, local residents and second homeowners alike. Next time your out boating at the Lake of the Ozarks, be sure to drive your boat over by Bagnell Dam and check it out. While you're out on the water, keep Summerset Boat Lifts in mind for all of your boat lift needs. Whether you're looking for a new boat lift at Lake of the Ozarks or just need your old one repaired, we've got you covered!

1165 Jeffries Road Osage Beach, MO  65065

Keep up with local news, events and product information by Following us!!

No comments:

Post a Comment