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This Day in Georgia History

February 29, 1936

Report Recommended Dam on Savannah River

To view an image of Clarks Hill Dam, see the Digital Library of Georgia.

Flooding of the Savannah River had been an age-old problem–particularly since the founding of Augusta in 1736. Following the great flood of 1888, the Army Corps of Engineers issued a report in 1890 stating that Augusta’s flooding problem could only be solved by building one or more dams on the Savannah River north of the city. Nothing was done, however, and the flooding of Augusta continued, with the greatest floods in 1908 and 1912. Following a survey of the entire Savannah River Basin, the Corps in 1933 recommended construction of two dams–one near Clarks Hill, South Carolina, and one near Hartwell, Georgia. In August 1935, President Franklin Roosevelt appointed a special board to study the need and feasibility of a proposed dam at Clarks Hill. On Feb. 29, 1936, that board issued a report strongly recommending the building of the dam. World War II, however, would intervene, and construction of the dam was postponed until after the war. Construction of the dam and the first powerhouse for hydroelectric production was completed in late 1952. The remaining six powerhouses went into operation in 1953 and 1954, and the entire Clarks Hill Dam and Lake was completed in July 1954.