The Original Kentucky Lake & Lake Barkley Site Since 1996

KentuckyLake

Kentucky Lake Historical Photos


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More that 48,500 acres, mainly farmland, wooded areas and swampland were cleared for the reservoir which stretches for 184 miles from Kentucky through Tennessee To obtain information about foundation rock for the dam, workers drilled several hundred exploratory holes of various depths.. Drilling was done along parallel ranges 150 ft apart.  The work was synchronized so both drills would reach bedrock at the same time, providing valuable information on the extent and size of underground rock streams. The drilling barges were kept in alignment by TVA engineers with transits on shore. Borings were made at specific intervals across the Tennessee River.
A typical house built for supervisory construction workers contained two bedrooms,a living room, kitchen and bath. A screened porch connected the garage and house. The community center complex was a group of permanent buildings at the construction site. The community building housed a library, drug store, post office, lounge and commissary Employees were transported to work aboard barges. At the peek of construction there were more than 4,800 workers. TVA constructed eight dormitories with a total capacity of 480 employees at Kentucky Dam.  Service buildings at the construction village included construction offices, cafeterias, a hospital, recreation centers, a school and an auditorium..
Aggregate was hauled from the quarry, 7 1/2 miles upstream, to the concrete plant at the construction site. The aggregate was carried to the site in hopper-bottom railroad cars where it was stock-piled until needed in mixing concrete. The navigation lock chamber is 110 by 660 feet and contains more than 384,000 cubic yards of concrete.  Concrete was placed in 61 blocks of varying lengths from 48 to 64 feet and widths ranging from 8 feet to 86 feet.  Each layer of concrete is about 10 feet deep. The dam spillways were built in two stages. The powerhouse and nine of the spillways were concreted in the first stage.  The remaining sections followed and connected the dam to the west bank of the river. Workers rotated on a three-shift basis, 7 days a week, during most of the construction.  Employee fatigue and the introduction of workers into the military resulted in high employee turnover.
A railroad bridge for the Illinois Central Railroad was relocated to cross the top of the dam structure.  The first train passed over the dam on November 2, 1944. On October 10, 1945, President Harry S. Truman, officially dedicated Kentucky Dam in ceremonies attended by dignitaries, TVA officials and employees. TVA Chairman of the Board David Lilienthal, President Harry S. Truman and TVA Board member James P. Pope celebrate Kentucky Dam's official opening. A 1945 aerial view of the completed project.   The pilings in the river down stream are all that remain of the Illinois Central Railroad bridge near the dam.  The tracks were relocated to cross the dam and the bridge spans became a part of a new bridge 11 miles down stream.
Historic KY Dam - A 1945 aerial view of the completed project.   The pilings in the river down stream are all that remain of the Illinois Central Railroad bridge near the dam.  The tracks were relocated to cross the dam and the bridge spans became a part of a new bridge 11 miles down stream. Historic KY Dam