Bull Shoals Dam


The White River, before the Dam was built, was used as a major transportation route for Arkansas. Many people would pilot steamboats and other kinds of boats up and down the river rather than mess with the incomplete and extremely bad roads. Between 1915-1927 there were several major floods, each one more destructive than the last. The United States Corp of Engineers purposed the building of the Dam. After going through Congress and the President for approval the US Corp of Engineers started work on the Bull Shoals Dam in June of 1947 and was finished in July of 1951. After the Dam started retaining water, many homes, farms, and towns were flooded. One of the towns that was flooded was Kingdon Springs, the first town in northern Arkansas that had electricity. The lake disrupted many lives by destroying the farms that they worked. Pictures of the Dam during and after construction can be viewed at http://www.ozarkhistory.com/construction1.htm and http://www.ozarkhistory.com/construction2.htm.

After the Bull Shoals Dam was built the transportation route of northern Arkansas was cut in half. If someone wanted to head east by way of the White River they would have to stop at the Dam and go on foot or get a wagon to go out further east. The Dam also caused a major problem in the way of getting goods for areas north of the Dam. Some people would own two boats or would hire transportation for the trip to areas past the Dam.

Here is a table about the specs and other features of the Bull Shoals Dam.

Features:

General

Drainage area of Bull Shoals Lake

6,036 square miles

Percentage of White River Drainage Basin

22 percent

Total area in the Bull Shoals Lake Project

101,196 acres

Dam length

2,256 feet

Dam height (above streambed)

256 feet

Area in flowage easement

1,106 acres

Flood-control elevation

Lake surface area

71,240 acres

Top pool elevation

695 feet NGVD

Length of shoreline

1,050 miles

Conservation pool elevation

Lake surface area

45,440 acres

Land surface area

55,750 acres

Spillway design

703 feet NGVD

Top pool elevation

654 feet NGVD

Length of shoreline

740 miles

Power drawdown elevation

Lake surface area

33,800 acres

Bottom pool elevation

628.5 feet NGVD

Source: USACE (1996)

This table is from http://www.swl.usace.army.mil/parks/bullshoals/bullshoalsea.htm.

Many people wondered where the electricity generated by the Dam would go. Some hoped it would stay in the area or at least in the state.

Some maps of Marion County, Arkansas that show the growth of the county since 1835 can be viewed at http://segenealogy.com/arkansas/ar_maps.htm. Other maps of the area can be viewed at http://www.rootsweb.com/~armarion/marioncoinfo/mapindex.html. Some of the maps are townships, old towns (some of which are still around), and even a map of railroads for several states including (as of 1891) Arkansas, Texas, Missouri, Indian Territory, and etc. On the web sites mentioned above there are also links to other sites where you can get more information.

In July of 2002 the Bull Shoals Dam celebrated its 50th anniversary. As part of the celebration there where live bands performing, a long parade, and the rededication of the Bull Shoals Dam. The parade route was from the Bull Shoals State Park, which is right next to the Lakeview city limits, across the Dam, down Highway 178 to the Bull Shoals City Hall.