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This Day in Georgia History

February 10, 1939

Resolution Encouraging Savannah River Dam Signed

Gov. E.D. Rivers signed a joint resolution calling on Pres. Franklin D. Roosevelt to expedite construction of a flood control/hydroelectric dam near the South Carolina town of Clarks Hill on the Savannah River. Despite Roosevelt’s Georgia connections, construction of the dam did not begin until 1946. The Korean War delayed the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, but the project was finally completed in 1954. Initially, the new reservoir was designated as the “Clark Hill Dam and Lake.” This was a typographical error, however, and eventually South Carolina Sen. Strom Thurmond had the official name changed to “Clarks Hill Dam and Lake.” In 1984, a new Savannah River reservoir north of Clarks Hill was completed and named in honor of the late Georgia U.S. Senator Richard Russell. This led South Carolina’s congressional delegation to push for renaming Clarks Hill in honor of Sen. Strom Thurmond, who at the time was the longest-serving member in the history of the U.S. Congress. In December 1987, Congress changed the name of the Clarks Hill reservoir to J. Strom Thurmond Dam and Lake at Clarks Hill. This remains its official name, although on the Georgia side of the reservoir, it is still commonly called “Clarks Hill Dam and Lake.”